6th Australian Division

Although it was first mooted in May 1916 and the idea was revived in February 1917, the formation of a sixth Australian Division never fully succeeded. Australia had democratically rejected  the introduction of conscription on 28 October 1916 and the flow of voluntary recruits was barely enough to maintain the existing Divisions. The project for the 6th Division was abandoned in late 1917.

AWM image P02321.059. Lark Hill, Wiltshire, England, February 1917. Snow covers the ground and the roofs of a long row of corrugated iron huts occupied by the 3rd Australian Training Battalion at its camp on Salisbury Plain. The hut in the foreground (left) is the Quartermaster's Office and Store. Standing in front of it is an officer who is well rugged up against the cold.

AWM image P02321.059. Lark Hill, Wiltshire, England, February 1917. Snow covers the ground and the roofs of a long row of corrugated iron huts occupied by the 3rd Australian Training Battalion at its camp on Salisbury Plain. The hut in the foreground (left) is the Quartermaster’s Office and Store. Standing in front of it is an officer who is well rugged up against the cold.

Much of the following information was kindly provided by Australian military historian Chris Roberts, with my thanks.

16th Australian Brigade

61st Australian Infantry (New South Wales)
65th Australian Infantry (Victoria)
69th Australian Infantry (Queensland and Tasmania)
70th Australian Infantry (South and Western Australia)

17th Australian Brigade

The 62nd, 63rd, 66th and 67th Battalions were formed on 25 April 1917 from drafts in depots in the United Kingdom as part of the formation of 17th Brigade. The 62nd and 63rd Battalions moved to join 16th Brigade on 17 May 1917. (AWM4 1/52/6 April -July 1917)

Bean’s colour patch chart for the 6th Division shows the 61st, 62nd and 63rd Battalions belonging to the 16th Brigade, and the 65th, 66th and 67th Battalions belonging to the 17th Brigade, with the 69th and 70th Battalions attached to the 16th and 17th brigades respectively.

Other units

The 16th and 17th Field Ambulances RAMC, 16th and 17th Field Companies RE and 16th and 17th Light Trench Mortar Batteries were raised and there is also mention of the brigade machine companies being formed.

The strength of the 17th Infantry Brigade (65th, 66th, 67th and 70th Battalions, the TMB and 17th Field Ambulance) was 3141 all ranks as at 15 September (AWM4 1/52/8 – September 1917)

The division began disbanding in September 1917. Special Order 1801 dated 15/9/1917 instructs the 17th Brigade and the 62nd Battalion to be disbanded, and for the 16th Brigade to be re-organised as a three battalion formation (61st, 63rd and 69th Battalions). The last details of 16th Australian Infantry Brigade marched out to Overseas Training Brigade on 19 October 1917. (War Diary at AWM4 1/5/5 October 1917 – RCDIG1016627)

Please help!

If you have any documentary evidence regarding units of the 6th Australian Division that adds to or even contradicts the information above, please contact Chris Baker (in the About section of this site)

Links

Order of Battle of Divisions