The 3rd Australian Division in 1914-1918

History

On 2 February 1916, after the AIF had withdrawn from Gallipoli and was being reorganised in Egypt, the Australian Government agreed to form a third Division. Assembly began in March 1916 and the Division began to arrive in England in July 1916. After intensive training it crossed to France in December 1916 and thereafter fought in many of the major actions of the war. The 3rd Australian Division was initially under the command of then Major General John Monash, who went on to command the Australian Corps and who is generally regarded as amongst the finest military commanders of the war. He was succeeded on 31 May 1918 by Major General John Gellibrand:

1917

  • The Battle of Messines (7-10 June)
  • The Third Battles of Ypres
    - The Battle of Broodseinde (4 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 Battle of the Avre (4 April) (9th Australian Brigade)
    - The capture of Hamel (4 July) (11th Australian Brigade)
  • The Battle of Amiens (8-11 Aug)
  • The Second Battles of the Somme 1918
    - The Battle of Albert (21-23 Aug)
    - The Second Battle of Bapaume (31 Aug - 3 Sept)
  • The Battles of the Hindenburg Line
    - The Battle of the St Quentin Canal (29 Sep - 2 Oct)

The Division was not selected to advance into Germany.

Demobilisation commenced in early 1919 and by May 1919 the last troops of the Division had departed for home.

Order of battle

Divisional headquarters

 

Headquarters

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


9th Australian Brigade

 

33rd Australian Infantry

 

34th Australian Infantry

 

35th Australian Infantry

 

36th Australian Infantry

 

9th Australian Machine Gun Company

Left to move into 3rd Australian MG Battalion February 1918

9th Australian Trench Mortar Battery

 


10th Australian Brigade

 

37th Australian Infantry

 

38th Australian Infantry

 

39th Australian Infantry

 

40th Australian Infantry

 

10th Australian Machine Gun Company

Left to move into 3rd Australian MG Battalion February 1918

10th Australian Trench Mortar Battery

 


11th Australian Brigade

 

41st Australian Infantry

 

42nd Australian Infantry

 

43rd Australian Infantry

 

44th Australian Infantry

 

11th Australian Machine Gun Company

Left to move into 3rd Australian MG Battalion February 1918

11th Australian Trench Mortar Battery

 


Divisional Troops

 

3rd Australian Pioneer Bn

 

207th Machine Gun Company

A British unit. Joined October 1916, left October 1917.

23rd Australian Machine Gun Company

Joined February 1917. Merged into 3rd Australian MG Battalion February 1918

3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion

Formed in February 1918 by merging the 9th, 10th, 11th and 23rd Australian Machine Gun Companies

3rd Australian Divisional Train

A unit of the Army Service Corps made up of 867, 868, 869 and 870 Companies ASC

3rd Australian Mobile Veterinary Section

 

3rd Australian Divisional Employment Company

Joined January 1917


Divisional Mounted Troops

 

3rd Australian Cyclist Company

Left July 1916


Divisional Royal Artillery

 

7th Australian Brigade RFA

 

8th Australian Brigade RFA

 

9th Australian Brigade RFA

Broken up in January 1917

23rd Australian (Howitzer) Brigade RFA

Absorbed into other units in January 1917

3rd Australian Divisional Ammunition Column RFA

 

V.3.A Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA

Formed in August 1916, left February 1918

X.3.A, Y.3.A and Z.3.A Medium Mortar Batteries RFA

Formed in August 1916; in February 1918, Z was broken up and the other batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each


Divisional Royal Engineers

 

9th Australian Field Company RE

 

10th Australian Field Company RE

 

11th Australian Field Company RE

 

3rd Australian Divisional Signal Company RE

 


Divisional Royal Army Medical Corps

 

9th Australian Field Ambulance RAMC

 

10th Australian Field Ambulance RAMC

 

11th Australian Field Ambulance RAMC

 


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Related information

AWM
Australians of the 37th Battalion and French Colonial troops at the International Post, near Monument Wood on 21 June 1918. Members of the 37th Battalion, 10th Brigade, 3rd Division, standing in the trench, front to back, Private (Pte) D. Boyd, Pte J. Leger (probably Ledger), Lieutenant Norman Gordon McNicol MC. Remainder French Garrison of International Post, part of the 3rd Tirailleurs Regiment, standing along left of trench. Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial. Larger copy

Memorial
The memorial to the 3rd Australian Division, which stands at Sailly-le-Sec on the road between the Somme towns of Corbie and Bray. This photograph is courtesy of the Frank Hatzman collection at flickr.com with my thanks.
Larger copy

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