Battles & Incidents

Battle of Fromelles

19th-20th July 1916

The Australian 5th and British 61st Divisions attacked strong German positions near the Aubers Ridge.  The attack was designed to keep German reserves from being moved south to the Somme, where the British attack had begun on 1st July.

The attack at Fromelles, carried out in broad daylight over open ground, was a disaster.  In 24 hours, the Australians suffered 5,500 casualties, almost 2,000 of whom were killed or died of wounds. This is believed to be the heaviest loss of any division in a single day in the whole of the First World War.

Almost 250 soldiers from the battle of Fromelles, most of them Australians, were recovered from an unmarked grave and reinterred in a new cemetery in July 2010, after 90 of the Australians had been identified using DNA techniques.

Robert White, son of the artist John White, fought at Fromelles in the 29th Australian Infantry Battalion.