In a few weeks it will be one hundred years since The Battle of Fromelles which occurred between the 19th and 20th of July 1916. It occurred on the Western Front in the Somme region of France and was fought by the 5th Australian Division and the 61st British Division. It is of great significance to Australia as it was among the first major battles on the Western Front that they were engaged with.
The battle was created to draw the attention of the German forces away from another attack happening further south in another part of the Somme. It began with a bombardment which did little to affect the German soldiers who were located in their trenches. This removed any element of surprise.
Although some ground was gained, the Allied troops eventually withdrew as a result of the German’s fierce defense. The battle which began at 6pm on the 19th was over by 8am on the 20th. Thousands of people were killed or injured. More than 7, 000 Allied troops (5, 500 Australians (including 2, 000 dead) and 1, 500 British) and approximately 1, 000 Germans became casualties.
Although the battle is now seen as unsuccessful, every year, thousands of Australians visit the site in order to honour the soldiers, many of them with no marked grave, who gave their lives fighting for freedom, even the freedom of those they would never meet.