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The Plugstreet Archaeological Project

The 42nd Infantry Battalion.





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The 42nd Battalion, 11th Brigade, 3rd Australian Division, was raised at Enoggera, on the outskirts of Brisbane, in December 1915. The battalion became known as the “Australian Black Watch” as it shared its numeric title with the famous old Scottish regiment, and a bagpipe band was formed by the battalion.

The 42nd Btn departed for England from Sydney on the 5th of June 1916 onboard the Borda. A further 7 reinforcements would follow, the last leaving Sydney on the 14 June 1917. Arriving in England on the 41st Battalion spent the next four months training and crossed to France on the 26th of November 1916 and entered the frontline trenches for the first time on 23 December.

Their first major action was the Battle of Messines, launched on the 7th of June 1917, when the battalion was in reserve near Ploegsteert Wood, close to the Ultimo and Factory Farm mines, following the 9th and 10th Division after the main objectives on the Black Line had been captured and pushing forward to the next objectives on the Oosttaverne Line in the afternoon of the 7th of June.

The 42nd Battalion went onto the Battle of Passchendaele. In 1918 they saw action in the Spring Offensive when the enemy pushed through the lines.

On the 20th of September 1918 the 42nd battalion was ordered to disband to provide reinforcements for other battalions of the 11th brigade. But the Battalion won a temporary reprieve as the men mutinied. The 42nd's final battle of the war was at St Quentin Canal between the 29th of September and 2nd of October. On the final day of the battle the order to disband was once again issued, but the men still disobeyed. They were forced to comply by pressure from the AIF hierarchy and the 42nd Battalion was disbanded on 22 October 1918 with the men reinforcing the other three battalions.


Those who served with The 42nd Btn

at the Battle of Messines.

  • Baker
  • E. J. Pte. d.11th Jun 1917
  • Barnes
  • John Pte. d.10th Jun 1917
  • Barrett
  • C. R. Pte. d.10th Jun 1917
  • Barry  
  • Patrick Pte. d.10th June 1917
  • Barry  
  • Patrick Pte. d.10th June 1917
  • Bartley
  • Thomas James 2nd Lt. d.10th Jun 1917
  • Broad
  • D. A. Pte. d.10th Jun 1917
  • Chadwick  
  • Frederick George Pte. d.9th Jun 1917
  • Harley  
  • Herbert William Pte. d.3rd Jul 1917
  • Hawthorne
  • W. A. I. Pte. d.9th Jun 1917
  • Hodson
  • H. C. Pte.
  • Ibbotson
  • Arthur Samuel Pte. d.10th Jun 1917
  • Luscombe  
  • Thomas George L/Cpl. d.10th Jun 1917
  • Lydon  
  • Joseph Patrick Pte. d.10th June 1917
  • Ovenden  
  • Thomas William "Buller" Pte
  • Rutherford  MID
  • Edwin Robert Pte.
  • Singh  
  • Sarn Pte.
  • Withall
  • Charles Edward Pte. d.31st Jul 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 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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