The Plugstreet Archaeological Project
The 34th Infantry Battalion. AIF
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The 34th Battalion, 9th Brigade, 3rd Australian Division, was raised at the Maitland showground in New South Wales in February 1916 and departed from Sydney onboard the Hororata on the 2nd of May 1916. Arriving in England in late June, the 34th battalion spent five months training and crossed to France on the 22nd of November 1916, taking up positions on the Western Front just five days later. Eight reinforcements joined the battalion the last leaving Sydney in July 1917.
Their first major action was the Battle of Messines, launched on the 7th of June 1917, when the battalion attacked over ground near Ploegsteert Wood, close to the Ultimo and Factory Farm mines. The faced a 3 mile march from their camp which lead them through the wood under shelling from the enemy and a gas attack which slowed progress and claimed casualties. The battalion reached their jumping off points just in time for the start of the battle, signaled by the explosion of nineteen huge mines laid beneath a nine mile stretch of the enemy front line. The delay in the wood meant that many of the men went straight over the top, without pausing for the refreshments which had been planned.The 34th Battalion went onto the Battle of Passchendaele where over 50 percent of the battalion became casualties, and in 1918 they saw action in the Spring Offensive when the enemy pushed through the lines. In the summer they took part in the counter offensive and saw action at the Battle of Amiens and the Battle of St Quentin Canal.
The 34th Battalion disbanded in May 1919
Those who served with The 34th Btn
at the Battle of Messines.
Richard Winstanley Pte. d.7th Jun 1917
Russell Stanley Lt. d.8th May 1918
Matthew Michael L/Cpl. d.8th June 1917
James Oliver Pte. d.18th Jul 1917
George Henry Pte.
George Sylvester "Richie" Pte. d.24th July 1917
J. W. d.7th Jun 1917
Russell Aubrey Pte.
William Leslie "Rasso" Pte. d.7 Jun 1917
Sidney Harold Pte.
George Robert Pte. d.7th Jun 1917
Thomas Pte d.7 Jun 1917
Lance A. Pte. d.7th Jun 1917
Leslie William Roy Lt. d.8th Jun 1917
Robert Norman L/Sjt. d.7th Jun 1917
Digging Up Plugstreet
Richard Osgood and Martin Brown
The compelling story of the Australian soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division who journeyed to England in 1914, and who fought and died on the Western Front during the First World War. Using archaeology as the vehicle for their story, Martin Brown and Richard Osgood follow in the footsteps of the 'Aussies', from their training on windswept Salisbury Plain to the cheerless trenches of Belgium, where they 'dug-in' north-east of Ploegsteert to face the Germans. It presents a unique window into the world of the men who marched away to fight the so-called 'war to end warsMore information on:
Pillars of Fire: The Battle of Messines Ridge, June 1917
Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography.' So said General Plumer the day before 600 tons of explosives were detonated under the German positions on Messines Ridge. The explosion was heard by Lloyd George in Downing Street, and as far away as Dublin. Until 1918, Messines was the only clear cut Allied victory on the Western Front, coming at a time when Britain and her allies needed it most: boosting Allied morale and shattering that of the Germans. Precisely orchestrated, Messines was the first true all-arms modern battle which brought together artillery, engineers, infantry, tanks, aircraft and administrative units from a commonwealth of nations to defeat the common enemy. So why is its name not as familiar as the Somme, Passchendaele or Verdun? General Sir Herbert Plumer, perhaps the most meticulous, resourceful and respected British general of WW1, is also unfamiliar to many. This book examines the battle for the Messines-Wytschaete RidMore information on:
Bullecourt 1917: Breaching the Hindenburg Line
The assault upon the formidable Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt in April and May 1917 by three British Divisions - the 7th, 58th and 62nd - and three Australian Divisions was initially designed to assist Allenby's Third Army break out from Arras. This book tells the full story of a battle that can be seen as an archetype of the horrors of trench warfare. The controversial first Bullecourt battle of 11th April came to be regarded as the worst Australian defeat of the War, when Australian infantry assaulted without artillery and tank support. They were badly let down by the British tanks - but the British tank crews were let down in their turn by their own commanders, who put them in the forefront of the attack in Mark II training tanks, prone to malfunction and not armour-plated. Significant numbers fought their way into the German lines at Bullecourt against all odds, including legendary ANZAC soldiers Major Percy Black, Captain Albert Jacka and Captain Harry Murray. The Australians achiMore information on:
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