Australians At The Battle Of Pozieres – 23 July – 3 September 1916


Private Douglas Ackland Meggy, pictured above, was in the 3rd Battalion, AIF.

He was killed in action at Pozieres, France, between the 22nd and 27th of July 1916.  He was 20 years old.

Private Meggy came from Neutral Bay, Sydney NSW.

His brother, Private Albert Edward Meggy, was killed in action at Gallipoli on the 6th of August 1915. He was 21 years old.

Private Meggy’s photograph is also included in the video below titled ‘You never came home’.

The video below entitled ‘You never came home’ is a memorial to the Australians who died on the Western Front in WW1. From 1916 to 1918, nearly half of all Australians that died in all wars and battles (including WW2), died on the Western Front in less than two and a half years. The image you see for the video are Australian stretcher bearers and dressers lying utterly exhausted in the mud after 60 hours without rest.  Lest We Forget.

From March 1916, until the end of WW1 on November 11, 1918, Australia’s losses on the Western Front are staggering. In the space of 33 months Australia’s had 46,000 soldiers dead and 132,000 were wounded. 178,000 casualties in less than three years.

One of the battles Australians were involved in at the Battle Of The Somme was at Pozieres and Mouquet Farm. Pozieres is a small village situated in the Somme valley in France.

The 1st, 2nd and 4th Australian Divisions endured shocking casualties from the 23rd July 1916 to the 3rd September 1916 at Pozieres and Mouquet Farm.

In all, the three Australian divisions suffered 23,000 casualties. All in less than seven weeks. 6,800 Australians were killed or died of wounds.

In a world we cannot imagine today, many Australians faced horrific challenges. In the Battle of Pozieres Australian soldiers also withstood heavy artillery bombardments up to the 7th August 1916, as the Germans made one last attempt to retake Pozieres.

Even though the Battle Of Pozieres (to take Pozieres from the Germans) was seen as a military success, the British commander was sternly criticized by Australians in allowing the continuation of the offensive at such a high casualty rate… this was on top of the failure at Fromelles some days and weeks earlier to the north of the Somme, where Australia had it’s worst day in history.

From the 8th August 1916 to the 3rd September 1916, Australian soldiers undertook an offensive in a very small area to take Mouquet Farm (approaching Thiepval near Pozieres) from the Germans. Australia’s 1st, 2nd and 4th Australian Divisions had over 11,000 casualties trying seven times to take the farm from the Germans against heavy shelling. All to no avail. Australian Diggers called Mouquet Farm ‘Moo Cow’ Farm.

The Windmill site at Pozieres is a place where many Australians died. It was very fitting that at the funeral of the Unkown Soldier on 11 November 1993 at the national Australian War Memorial, the soil from the Windmill site was cast over the Unkown Soldier’s coffin.

The cost in Australian lives had been enormous… and in the words of Australian official historian, Charles Bean… the Pozières ridge “is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth.”

The words to ‘You never came home’ on the video above were wrtten by Peter Barnes the author of ‘Can You Hear Australia’s Heroes Marching?’ Music is Chopin’s Funeral March. Photographs from the Australian War Memorial.

You can download the words to ‘You never came home’ HERE

Australian Paintings – Series of paintings of Australians in war time by Peter Barnes.