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Pictured above is the Australian 1st Div memorial at Pozieres beside the main D929 Albert-Bapaume road. The `bump` above the distant treeline, immediately to the right of the obelisk, is the Thiepval Memorial which carries the names of 73,000 British and South African troops who fell on the Somme and have no known grave.
Pozieres village, 6 kilometres north-east of the town of Albert, was captured on 24 July 1916 by the 1st Australian Division and the British 48th Division but the Germans along the adjacent trench lines were heavily dug-in and defended stubbornly. The windmill stood at the highest point of the German-held Pozieres Ridge and as the Battle of the Somme dragged on into August the 1st, 2nd and 4th Australian Divisions hammered away at the formidable defences. Over a forty-five day period the Aussies attacked nineteen times and lost 23,000 officers and men. Australian and French flags flank the walkway to the Pozieres Windmill Memorial. The remains of a German bunker, known as Gibraltar, still stand nearby and the British Tank Memorial is on the opposite side of the road. Separate pages cover the Tank Memorial and Mouquet Farm which was an exceptionally well fortified high point on the German held ridge.
Below: The inscription on the bench reads: `The ruin of Pozieres windmill which lies here was the centre of the struggle in this part of the Somme Battlefield in July and August 1916. It was captured on 4 August by the Australian troops who fell more thickly on this ridge than on any other battlefield of the war`.
This bronze plaque, unveiled in 1993, is by the Australian sculptor Dr Ross J. Bastiaan. Following a visit to Gallipoli many years ago he was dismayed at the lack of on-site information regarding the Australians who gave their lives there. He realised that this was the case at all other arenas in which his countrymen fought and embarked on a project to install informative memorial plaques relating not just to the First and Second World War battlefields but also more recent conflicts. One hundred-and-sixty of Bastiaan`s plaques can now be found in over 20 countries world-wide. More information can be found on Ross Bastiaan`s own Website.
The First Australian Division Memorial lists the unit`s Battle Honours won in 1916, 1917 and 1918.
Troops in attendance at the unveiling of the original memorial to the 1st Australian Division at Pozieres, 8th July 1917.
Above left: An abandoned German trench on the ridge near Pozieres. On the right, a 6-inch 26 cwt howitzer is hauled through the mud, with the aid of a light railway for the attack. September 1916. Other images of Pozieres from the extensive Imperial War Museum archives are featured below.
Please bear in mind that all images on this website are Copyright. They are not free to use and have been embedded with a digital watermark. The black & white photographs from the Imperial War Museum`s collection have been used courtesy of its `Share & Reuse` policy and are also subject to copyright restrictions.
The Pozieres Memorial encloses Pozieres British Cemetery which is a little south-west of the village on the north side of the D929 from Albert to Bapaume. On the road frontage is an open arcade terminated by small buildings and broken in the middle by the entrance and gates. Along the sides and the back, stone tablets are fixed in the stone rubble walls bearing the names of the dead grouped under their Regiments. It should be added that, although the memorial stands in a cemetery of largely Australian graves, it does not bear any Australian names. All Australian soldiers who fell in France and whose graves are not known are commemorated on the National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.
The Pozieres Memorial relates to actions in March and April 1918, a period of crisis when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back across the former Somme battlefields by overwhelming numbers of German troops during the Kaiser's Spring Offensive. Casualties who fell in the months that followed during the Advance to Victory which began on 8 August 1918 are also honoured here.
The memorial encloses the Pozieres British Cemetery, both having been designed by W.H. Cowlishaw, with sculpture by Laurence A. Turner. The memorial was unveiled by Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien on 4 August 1930.
Plot II in the cemetery contains original burials of 1916, 1917 and 1918, carried out by fighting units and field ambulances. The remaining plots were made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from the devastated battlefields immediately surrounding the cemetery. Most were of soldiers who died in the Autumn of 1916 during the latter stages of the Battle of the Somme, but several represent the fighting in August 1918.
There are now 2,758 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated here. Of these, 1,380 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. There is also 1 German soldier buried here.
The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 additional casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 South African Forces personnel who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918. The Corps and Regiments most largely represented are The Rifle Brigade with over 600 names, The Durham Light Infantry with approximately 600 names, the Machine Gun Corps with over 500, The Manchester Regiment with approximately 500 and The Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery with over 400 names.