Thursday, 6 March 2014

55th Australian Battalion WW1 History Snowy to the Somme

History 55th Battalion AIF WW1 Snowy to the Somme 1916-18

After near 100 years the 55th Battalion is finally remembered with this valuable addition to Australian military history, Snowy to the Somme A Muddy and Bloody Campaign, 1916-1918 by Tim Cook.
55th Battalion Australian Military History Book
Click to buy / see the book on website
At 397 pages in length this Battalion History book is an impressive record. Genealogists / Family History researchers will be happy that included are Nominal, Honour, Honours and Awards, and extensive end notes are shown with a great index. The Author has researched most available collections for personal recollections / memoirs - 35 personal veteran files being used from the Australian War Memorial. Therefore, when reading the book the high detail included in the narrative gives an impression that the writer must have been present in the trenches. Importantly, the history is value for money. 

Short History of The 55th Battalion 
During the Gallipoli Campaign, there was a large increase in Australians recruiting for service in World War One. 
After the return of the AIF from Gallipoli in December 1915, the amount of new reinforcements that arrived from Australia meant that the AIF could be doubled.

One of the new units was the 55th Battalion 5th Division.  The Battalion was made by taking half the Gallipoli veterans of the 3rd Battalion and making up the another half from fresh recruits. These recruits had arrived from New South Wales and thus like the 3rd Battalion was mostly composed of men from New South Wales.
After training in Egypt, the 55th Battalion was transferred to the Western Front, arriving into France on the 30th June 1916. Within two weeks the 55th Bn entered the frontlines at Fromelles. Eventually taking part in the Battle of Fromelles on the 19th July 1916. Fromelles was the worst disaster in Australian history when in a 24 hour period, 1917 men were killed in action with some 5000 casualties.
In 1917, they took part in the defence of the Hindenburg Lines at 2nd Battle of Bullecourt. The 55th Battalion had a major role during the Battle of Polygon Wood in September 1917. During the German Offensives, the Battalion valiantly defended to the north of Villers-Bretonneux and held these even after the German capture of the village.
On the 2nd September 1918 the Battalion fought to capture PĂ©ronne. The Battalion’s last major battle of WW1 was at St Quentin Canal. The Battalion was Honoured when Private John Ryan was awarded the Victoria Cross.
My advice buy it before it goes out of print!
To see further details click here 55th Battalion Book