Australia's Involvement
in World War 1

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World War 1 Roll of Honor

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Clyde Men Who Never Came Home

ANZAC Stan Allars' Story

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World War 1
Australia's Involvement in World War 1 (1914-1918)

Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914, and preparations were quickly made to send Australian forces overseas to participate in the conflict.

In November 1914, the first contingent of Australian and New Zealand troops bound for the war in Europe were sent to Egypt for training before moving on to the Western Front in France. The contingent included the First Australian Imperial Force (AIF), an expeditionary force, consisting of 20,000 men. While in Egypt, the troops from the First Australian Imperial Force and the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force were combined to form the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps-the ANZAC. The first action for the ANZACS was at Gallipoli.

The Gallipoli Campaign (25 April 1915 to January 1916) involved a landing on the Gallipoli peninsula with the goal of taking control of the Straits of the Dardanelles. The ANZACS, with the British, French and other allies fought an unsuccessful campaign against the Turks and most of the troops were evacuated in December 1915. The Gallipoli campaign involved 28,150 Australian troops of whom 8,709 were killed and 19,441 were wounded.

Following the evacuation of the ANZACS from Gallipoli, the Australian and New Zealand units reassembled in Egypt. The Australian forces underwent a major reorganisation resulting in the formation of two new divisions; the 4th and 5th divisions and together with the Australian 3rd Division were reformed into two corps; I ANZAC Corps and II ANZAC Corps.

In early 1916 the infantry divisions were sent to France, where they took part in many of the major battles fought on the Western Front. The most significant of these battles were:

    - Battle of Fromelles 19/07/1916
    - First Battle of Bullecourt 11/04/1917
    - Second Battle of Bullecourt 3/05/1917
    - Battle of Messines 7/06/19.17
    - Battle of Ypres 16/09/1917

Most of the light horse units remained in the Middle East until the end of the war, carrying out further operations against the Turks in Egypt and Palestine.

The significance of the Australian human contribution to the war effort is indicated by the number of enlisted men who died or were injured. Australia’s total population at the time was about 4 million, and the 416,809 who enlisted for service represent 38.7 per cent of the total male population aged between 18 and 44. Of these, an estimated 58,961 died, 166,811 were wounded, 4098 went missing or were made prisoners of war, and 87,865 suffered sickness.

Australia's involvement in this war cost over 60,000 lives (14%) and many more were left unable to work as a result of their injuries.

1. National Archives of Australia

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