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The Plugstreet Archaeological Project

4th Salvage Company AIF.




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4th Salvage Company, were attached to the 4th Australian Division, their role was to recover any items which could be returned to stores to be reissued, repaired or recovered for scrap. By 1917 both sides of the conflict were very short of raw materials, especially metal. Items such as spent cartridge cases and shell cases were recovered by the Salvage Companies and returned to Munitions Factories to be refilled. Personal equipment was also recovered from injuried soldiers and from the dead, this was repaired and returned to stores to be reissued. The lists of items recovered from the front line areas shortly after the main attack include items such as blankets, clothing, hot food containers, horse shoes, weapons, boxes of candles, coils of cable, screw pickets, spent .303 cartridges, lewis gun magazines, saddles, horse rugs and parts of wagons as well as some enemy items.


Those who served with 4th Salvage Company

at the Battle of Messines.





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




If you know of anyone who served with this unit at the Battle of Messines, please complete the form below so that they can be remembered.

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