Another Look at The Old 16th Battalion
The Old Sixteenth Being a Record of the 16th Battalion AIF During the Great War 1914 - 1918 ' by Captain C. Longmore. This is the Official Battalion History compiled and written by Longmore in association with the 16th Battalion History Committee. This book was first published in 1929. Follows the 16th Battalion's history from its formation in Western Australia on the 16 September 1914. The Battalion along with the 13th, 14th and 15th Battalions formed the 4th Brigade under the command of Colonel John Monash. Initial training began in Western Australia. Later the Battalion moved to Broadmeadows Victoria where it was brought up to strength with recruits from South Australia. The Battalion was still made up with 75% Westralians. Next port of call was Egypt. They were First Day Landers on Anzac Cove where the Battalion took part in action at Bloody Angle and later formed part of the defence of Quinns Post. The Battalion suffered at the attack on Hill 971. After the December evacuation of Gallipoli the 16th Battalion returned to Egypt where it was split and provided veteran soldiers for the newly formed 48th Battalion. During June 1916 they moved to the Western Front and saw action at the Battle of Pozieres. During 1917 they attacked the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt. This Battle was a disaster for the Battalion. The British Commander General Gough had not allowed adequate planning for the attack which was to be carried out without artillery support. Tanks were to be used for support. No training had ever been undertaken with tanks - many men had never seen a tank. Only 12 tanks were available and of these only three started in front of the 14th and 16th Battalions. These were quickly destroyed leaving the men to attack the Hindenburg Line without support. Against all odds the men occupied the Hindenburg trenches. Due to confusion over the advanced position of troops the Australian Artillery would not fire in support. The surviving diggers then had to retreat back through no man's land at great cost. As with most early Battalion Histories they were written for the veterans of the Battalions. Generally there is a nominal roll where the veterans could not only see their own name but also reminisce over old cobber names and times. This Battalion History has full soldier named Nominal Roll by Company and Reinforcements. Other appendixes include ; Officers named who were Promoted from the Ranks, Officers named captured by the Enemy , Officer Named Casualties Listed by order Battle , Casualties in Infantry by Division number only , Casualties Infantry in 16 Battalion by number, Battalion members decorations named list. Full Soldier named Nominal Roll at Evacuation of Gallipoli in order of Company
It was this famous battalion that Major Percy Black (picture inserted) was a member. Black was said to be the 'Bravest Man in the AIF'. This gallant soldier fell unto glory at the Battle of Bullecourt 1917. His friend Harry Murray (Mad Harry) later said of his passing, "He was the bravest man I ever knew and I knew hundreds of them!"
This book is dedicated to Percy Black a much loved member of this Battalion.
Click here to see a reprint edition of this History to the Famous Sixteenth.