4th Australian Division

History

This Division began to form in Egypt in February 1916, after a decision to essentially duplicate the original AIF which had now withdrawn from Gallipoli. Delays in assembling the artillery meant that the Division could not depart for France before June 1916. It entered the front line near Armentieres late that month and then took part in the following battles and engagements:

1916

  • The Battles of the Somme 1916
    – The Battle of Pozieres including the fighting for Mouquet Farm

1917

  • Operations on the Ancre
  • German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
  • The Arras offensive
    – The First attack on Bullecourt (11 April)
  • The Battle of Messines (7-10 June)
  • The Third Battles of Ypres
    – The Battle of the Menin Road (20 – 25 Sep)
    – The Battle of Polygon Wood (26 Sep – 3 Oct)
    – The First Battle of Passchendaele (12 Oct)

1918

Australian Divisions were not affected by the restructuring that took place in the British Divisions in February 1918 (in which the infantry brigades were reduced from four battalions down to three).

  • The First Battles of the Somme, 1918
    – The First Battle of Arras, 1918 (28 Mar)
    – The Battle of the Ancre (5 Apr; 12 and 13th Australian Brigades only)
    – The actions of Villers-Bretonneux (24-25 Apr)
  • The capture of Hamel (4 July; 4th Australian Brigade only)
  • The Battle of Amiens (8-11 Aug)
  • The Second Battles of the Somme 1918
    – The Battle of Albert (21-23 Aug)

The Division was not selected to advance into Germany.

Order of Battle

Divisional headquarters

Headquarters, under whose command came the Infantry Brigades and the other divisional troops listed below

4th Australian Brigade

13th Australian Infantry

14th Australian Infantry

15th Australian Infantry

16th Australian Infantry

4th Australian Machine Gun Company. Left to move into 4th Australian MG Battalion February 1918

4th Australian Trench Mortar Battery. Formed in July 1916

12th Australian Brigade

45th Australian Infantry

46th Australian Infantry

47th Australian Infantry

48th Australian Infantry

12th Australian Machine Gun Company. Left to move into 4th Australian MG Battalion February 1918

12th Australian Trench Mortar Battery. Formed in July 1916

13th Australian Brigade

49th Australian Infantry

50th Australian Infantry

51st Australian Infantry

52nd Australian Infantry

13th Australian Machine Gun Company. Left to move into 4th Australian MG Battalion February 1918

13th Australian Trench Mortar Battery. Formed in July 1916

Divisional Troops

4th Australian Pioneer Battalion. Formed in Egypt in March 1916

23rd Australian Machine Gun Company. Joined June 1917. Merged into 4th Australian MG Battalion February 1918

4th Australian Machine Gun Battalion. Formed in February 1918 by merging the 4th, 12th, 13th and 23rd Australian Machine Gun Companies

4th Australian Divisional Train. A unit of the Army Service Corps made up of 753, 754, 755 and 756 Companies ASC

4th Australian Mobile Veterinary Section

4th Australian Divisional Employment Company. Joined January 1917

Divisional Mounted Troops

B Squadron, 13th Australian Light Horse. Joined March 1916, left July 1916

4th Australian Cyclist Company. Left June 1916

Divisional Royal Artillery

10th Australian Brigade RFA

11th Australian Brigade RFA

12th Australian Brigade RFA. Left in January 1917

24th Australian (Howitzer) Brigade RFA. Absorbed into other units in January 1917

4th Australian Divisional Ammunition Column RFA

V.4.A Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA. Formed in July 1916, left February 1918

X.4.A, Y.4.A and Z.4.A Medium Mortar Batteries RFA. Formed in July 1916; in February 1918, Z was broken up and the other batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each

Divisional Royal Engineers

4th Australian Field Company RE

12th Australian Field Company RE

13th Australian Field Company RE

4th Australian Divisional Signal Company RE

Divisional Royal Army Medical Corps

4th Australian Field Ambulance RAMC

12th Australian Field Ambulance RAMC

13th Australian Field Ambulance RAMC

Divisional memorials

The memorial to the 4th Australian Division, which stands just outside Bellenglise. There was some controversy over the placing of this memorial, with many considering Villers-Bretonneux a more fitting location. This photograph is courtesy of the Judith collection at picasa.com with my thanks.

The memorial to the 4th Australian Division, which stands just outside Bellenglise. There was some controversy over the placing of this memorial, with many considering Villers-Bretonneux a more fitting location. This photograph is courtesy of the Judith collection at picasa.com with my thanks.

Links

Other Divisions

Australian War Memorial

National Archives of Australia

Australians on the Western Front