History Australian 6th Battalion AIF.
Click to see the book As Rough as Bags: The History of the 6th Battalion
Little History of the 6th Battalion AIF
6th Battalion was recruited solely from Victoria, with Melbourne and
towns to the inner north being well represented. Recruitment was
completed within 2 weeks of the commencement of WWI in August 1914. The
6th Battalion sailed with the 1st Division less than 2 months later.
The 6th Battalion landed at Gallipoli as part of the 2nd wave on the 25th April 1915. Later they transferred to Cape Helles to take part in the charge on Krithia ( click here if you would like to see the Ron Austin’s book White Ghurkhas written on this attack).
Although the boys made a brave advance the ground was flat without
feature which offered no protection. Sergeant Neville Rollason of the 6th Bne wrote of the attack, “We
attacked the enemy, advancing under a terrible fire from rifles,
machine guns and shrapnel for a distance of 800 yards. When I say ‘we’ I
mean the others for I only got 600 yards when I got in the way of a
machine gun.” The Battalion suffered heavy casualties within an hour 133 members lay dead.
They returned to Anzac, during the August Offensives, the 6th
Battalion made an attack on the German Officers trench opposite
Steele’s Post. Although a daring attack from tunnels in no man’s land
the advance failed. It was estimated that 63 men actually made it into
the enemy's German Trench as their bodies were never recovered. The
attack was reminiscent of The Nek Light Horse Charge. As the Officers of
the Battalion wished to call off the attack but were urged by superiors
to once again attack.
Battlion hero of the 2nd attack was Captain Alf Jackson his CO
recommended Jackson for a posthumous bravery award which was never
awarded the citation read,”He worked well in a dark underground
tunnel organizing and when the advance commenced by his fearless bravery
helped the men forward under heavy fire. Even after he was hit,he
continued his work until his leg was very badly smashed"
Their first major action in France was at Pozières in July 1916, during which they lost 102 men killed. The 6th Battalion suffered horrific causalities. 6th
Battalion member Corporal Thomas later wrote,” Pozieres will never be
forgotten – a Valley of Death….it was awful, dozens being killed, blown
The 6th Battalion then fought the Second
Battle of Bullecourt, before taking part in the Battle of Menin Road in
September 1917, where Lieutenant Frederick Birks earned the 6th
Battalion's only Victoria Cross.
During the latter part of 1918 the 6th Battalion made an important successful advance on Lihons.
During the war the 6th Battalion lost 1,066 killed and 2,017 wounded
About the Ron Austin 6th Battalion book Rough As Bags
the 6th Battalion men sailed from Australia in October 1914, little did
they realize, that for the next four years they would travel on a
sacrificial journey to Turkey, France and Belgium - that is if they
survived the journey many did not.
performance of our enthusiastic citizen soldiers at Gallipoli,
mesmerized the British Command. However by 1918, the AIF had become a
professional battle hardened army.
6th Battalion was typical of the Australian infantry battalions, and it
could be argued that it was one of the best. The 6th Battalion's
maturity as a fighting battalion, was sometimes described as being 'as
rough as bags'.
history of the 6th Battalion is vividly described as the author Mr Ron
Austin, research included extensive use of diaries, letters, interviews
with veterans, and member photographs, many of which have never been
published before. The inclusion of many appendices makes this history a
notable addition to Australian military Book Histories.
member rolls complete this 6th Battalion History including Nominal Roll
Gallantry Award Roll Officers Roll to name a few.