The 19th of July 2017 marked the 101st commemoration of the Battle of Fromelles.
I was honoured to represent the City of Sydney and lay a wreath at the moving service that started with a procession from the Archibald Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park North to the the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park South.
Fromelles was the first major battle fought by Australian troops on the Western Front. The attack by allied forces was intended primarily as a feint to draw German troops away from the Somme offensive then being pursued further to the south.
When the troops of the 5th Australian and 61st British Divisions attacked at 6 pm on 19 July 1916, they suffered heavily at the hands of German machine-gunners. Small parts of the German trenches were captured by the 8th and 14th Australian Brigades, but, devoid of flanking support and subjected to fierce counter-attacks, they were forced to withdraw. By 8am on 20 July 1916, the battle was over.
The 5th Australian Division suffered 5,533 casualties, rendering it incapable of offensive action for many months; the 61st British Division suffered 1,547. The German casualties were little more than 1,000.
Lest We Forget.