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The Plugstreet Archaeological Project

The 37th Infantry Battalion.




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The 37th Battalion, 10th Brigade, 3rd Australian Division, was raised at Seymour in Victoria in February 1916.

The 37th Btn departed for England from Melbourne on the 3rd of June 1916 onboard the Persic. A further 7 reinforcements would follow, the last leaving Melbourne on the 22 December 1917. Arriving in England the 37th battalion spent the next few months training and crossed to France to take up positions on the Western Front on the 23rd of November 1916. In February 1917 the 37th Battalion provided 400 troops, to form a special raiding battalion, along with with a similar number from the 38th Battalion. After several weeks of specific training they staged a single raid on the night of 27 February and was then disbanded, but it would set them in good stead for the main offensive.

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 37th Battalion went onto the Battle of Passchendaele. In 1918 they saw action in the Spring Offensive when the enemy pushed through the lines.

The 37th Battalion were ordered to disbanded in September 1918, with the men to reinforce the other battalions of the 10th Brigade as heavy casualties had been suffered. This order prompted a mutiny which resulted in the CO, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Story being dismissed. However the battalion was granted an extension and saw action in the Battle of St Quentin Canal. The remaining 90 strong battalion were disbanded on the 12 October 1918.



Those who served with The 37th Btn. AIF

at the Battle of Messines.

  • Bailey  
  • Albert Edward Pte.
  • Bailey
  • Ronald Spencer L/Cpl d.8th Jun 1917
  • Cox  
  • Charles Pte. d.10th Feb 1918.
  • Crompton
  • James Pte. d.8th Jun 1917
  • Dane  
  • Maurice Surrey "R.E.Sanders" Pte. d.8th Jun 1917
  • Derrick
  • Horace Pte. d.8th Jun 1917
  • Hindmarsh  
  • Hector Pretoria Pte. d.8th Jun 1917
  • Hynes  
  • William Joseph David Pte. d.8th Jun 1917
  • Jorgensen  
  • Norman Arthur Pte. d.8th Jun 1917
  • Kay
  • E. Pte.
  • King  
  • Francis Elmour Cpl. d.8th June 1917
  • Lillis
  • John James Pte. d.9th Jun 1917
  • Lillis  
  • John James Pte. d.8th Jun 1917
  • McCann
  • David Ernest Pte. d.4th Oct 1917
  • Morgan  
  • Griffith James Sgt d.8th Jun 1917
  • See  
  • Robert Pte. d.10th Jun 1917
  • Sutton  
  • Walter William Pte.




    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 wars
    More information on:

    Digging Up Plugstreet




    Pillars of Fire: The Battle of Messines Ridge, June 1917

    Ian Passingham


    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 Rid


    Bullecourt 1917: Breaching the Hindenburg Line

    Paul Kendall


    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 achi




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