10th Battalion (Australia): Wikis


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Australian 10th Battalion
Australian 9th and 10th battalions Egypt December 1914 AWM C02588.jpeg
Lines of the 9th and 10th Battalions at Mena Camp, Egypt, December 1914, looking towards the Pyramids. The soldier in the foreground is playing with a kangaroo, the regimental mascot.
Active 1914–1919
Country Australia Australia
Branch Australian Army
Type Infantry
Role Line Infantry
Part of 3rd Brigade, 1st Division
Nickname The Fighting 10th
Colors Purple over Light Blue
Engagements World War I
Battle honours Somme, Pozieres, Bullecourt, Ypres, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Lys, Hazebrouck, Kemmel, Amiens, Albert, Hindenburg Line, Epehy, France and Flanders 1916–1918, ANZAC, Landing at ANZAC, Defence at ANZAC, Suvla, Sari Bair, Gallipoli, Egypt
Unit colour patch 10th Battalion AIF Unit Colour Patch.PNG

The 10th Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army, which served as part of the 1st Australian Imperial Force during the World War I. The battalion was completely recruited from South Australia in August 1914 and together with the 9th, 11th and 12th Battalions, it formed part of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division. It served at Gallipoli from April to December 1915, before being transferred to the Western Front in France in March 1916 where it took part in bitter trench warfare until the Armistice in 1918. The last detachment of men from the 10th Battalion returned to Australia in September 1919.[1]





The 10th Battalion was raised shortly after the declaration of war and left Australia two months later.[1] After briefly stopping in Albany, where their convoy was delayed due to concerns over the presence of German warships en route,[2] the battalion departed Australian waters in November and proceeded to Egypt, arriving there on 2 December 1914.[1]


After a period of training the 10th Battalion embarked for Gallipoli and at around 4.30 am on 25 April 1915, they were one of the first units to come ashore at Anzac Cove as part of the covering force for the main Anzac landing.[1] Troops from the battalion are believed to have penetrated further inland than any other Australian unit.[1] Following this, the battalion remained at Gallipoli until the evacuation in December, taking part in defending the beachead before being withdrawn from the peninsula along with the rest of the Allied forces and returning to Egypt. They remained in Egypt until early 1916 as the AIF was expanded and re-organised in preparation for its deployment to the European battlefield.[3]

Western Front

In March 1916 the 10th Battalion sailed to France along with the rest of the 1st Division and deployed to the Somme.[1] The battalion's first major action on the Western Front came in July 1916 when they were involved in the Battle of Pozières. For his actions during this battle Private Arthur Blackburn, an original member of the battalion who had served with it during the Gallipoli campaign, was awarded the Victoria Cross.[4] Later the 10th Battalion fought at Ypres, in Belgium, before returning to the Somme in the winter where they were deployed to defend the trenches.[1] In 1917, the battalion returned to Belgium to take part the Third Battle of Ypres. It was during this battle, at Polygon Wood in September, that Private Roy Inwood performed the deeds that resulted him receiving the Victoria Cross.[1]

In March and April 1918, the 10th Battalion took part in defensive operations during the German spring offensive, before taking part in the preliminary operations leading up to the Allied Hundred Days Offensive that ultimately brought about an end to the war. It was at this stage in the fighting, in June, while participating in an attack near Merris in France, that Corporal Philip Davey became the third member of the battalion to be awarded the Victoria Cross.[1] On 8 August, when the Allies launched the final offensive of the war, the battalion took part in an attack on Amiens that has since been described as one of the most successful on the Western Front, and the "...blackest day for the German Army".[5]

The battalion continued to conduct operations until late September 1918,[1] when the Australian Corps, having been severely depleted due to heavy casualties and the dwindling supply of reinforcements from Australia, was withdrawn from the line for rest and re-organisation.[6][7] As a result, the battalion took no further part in the fighting and when the when Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918 it was still out of the line.[1]

During the course of the battalion's service during the war, they lost 1,015 men killed and 2,136 wounded.[1]


Following the end of the war, the Australian government decided that it would not contribute to the Allied occupation force that was being set up and would begin the process of demoblisisation of the AIF as soon as possible.[8] Due to the large number of soldiers deployed overseas, this process took some time[9] and it was decided to progressively return men from each battalion, rather than send them home as a formed unit. As numbers dwindled, units were amalgamated for administrative purposes, as a consequence the 9th and 10th Battalions were merged on 5 February 1919, however, the final contingent of troops from the 10th Battalion did not return home until September 1919 when they disembarked in Adelaide from the transport Takada.[1]

The battalion as disbanded shortly afterwards, although it was later re-raised in 1921 as a unit of the Militia, known as the 10th Battalion (Adelaide Rifles). Today its honours and traditions are maintained by the 10th/27th Battalion, Royal South Australia Regiment, which has adopted the 10th Battalion's unit colour patch and carries the colours of both the 10th and 27th Battalions.

Battle honours

The 10th Battalion received the following battle honours:

  • World War I: Somme, Pozieres, Bullecourt, Ypres, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Lys, Hazebrouck, Kemmel, Amiens, Albert, Hindenburg Line, Epehy, France and Flanders 1916–1918, ANZAC, Landing at ANZAC, Defence at ANZAC, Suvla, Sari Bair, Gallipoli, Egypt.[1]

Commanding officers

The 10th Battalion's commanding officers during the war were as follows:[1]

  • LTCOL Stanley Price Weir.
  • MAJ Frederick William Hurcombe.[10]
  • MAJ George Dorricutt Shaw.
  • LTCOL Miles Fitzroy Beevor.
  • LTCOL James Samuel Denton.
  • MAJ Felix Gordon Giles.
  • LTCOL Rupert Anstice Rafferty.
  • LTCOL Ross Blyth Jacob.
  • MAJ Alexander Steele.
  • CAPT Gordon Cathcart Campbell.
  • MAJ Clarence Rumball.
  • LTCOL John Newman.
  • MAJ William Francis James McCann.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Unit Information—10th Battalion, AIF, World War I". Australian War Memorial. http://www.awm.gov.au/units/unit_11197.asp. Retrieved 2009-03-05.  
  2. ^ Grey 2008, p. 91.
  3. ^ Grey 2008, p. 98.
  4. ^ "Brigadier Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, VC, CMG, CBE". Australian War Memorial. http://www.awm.gov.au/units/people_530.asp. Retrieved 2009-11-07.  
  5. ^ German General Erich Ludendorff quoted in AWM Unit Information.
  6. ^ Odgers 1994, p. 127.
  7. ^ Grey 2008, pp. 111–112.
  8. ^ Grey 2008, p. 120.
  9. ^ Scott 1941, p. 827.
  10. ^ Hurcombe later achieved the rank of Colonel. See Frederick William Hurcombe.


Further reading

See also


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