10th Battalion patch. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial
10th Battalion – October 1917
Battalion in action. The following summary of the battle is from the battalion diaries [wherever possible] and includes Appendix 1 notes relating to orders relating to military operations and logistics. Map references are included where suitable.
The battle was pre-staged with a Saturday, September 29 march from Steenvoorde to Chateau Segard. The following morning, after breakfast, men were issued with ammunition, bombs and rations.
Monday, October 1 saw the battalion’s A, B, C and D companies take up supporting positions despite casualties.
“We were subjected to an extremely heavy bombardment which lasted most of the night. We had 5 killed and 24 wounded…”
“Two hundred men were detailed from C, B and D companies to report to Divisional Signal Company to bury cable. This practically left our line destitute.”
Tuesday, October 2 and Wednesday, October 3 saw soldiers take up positions for what would become the second half of the Third Battle of Ypres, in western Belgium, near the border with France. Between July and November 1917, across some four months, around 700,000 men on the Allied and German sides of the front combined either lost their lives or sustained injuries in what amounted to an eventual capture of barely 5 miles (or 8 kilometres) of land by the Allies, reaching the town of Passchendaele. The battle was fought during what became the wettest autumn weather seen in the region in 30 years.
On Thursday, October 4 through to Sunday, October 7, the battalion busied itself with consolidation of its trench position through the placing of 1200 sand bags.
Monday, October 8 saw the battalion take part in a trench raid against German positions before being relieved of front line duties by Wednesday, October 10.
Appendix 1 included the commanding officer’s comments on how the raid progressed.
“Some of the wounded crawled back into shell holes on the Western edge of the wood [Celtic Wood]. Every effort was made to get these men. Stretcher bearers with white flags were attempted, but the bearers were shot. After nightfall those that could be found were brought in.”
October 11 – DOMINION LINES
Battalion training and kit inspection.
Battalion training and baths.
Specialist training and recreational training.
Brigade church parade in the morning.
Specialist training in the morning and recreational training in the afternoon.
Specialist training and battalion parade in the morning. Recreation in the afternoon.
Specialist training and baths.
Battalion drill, assault and specialist training in the morning. Afternoon – recreational training.
Battalion drill and specialist training.
Battalion parade in the morning. In the afternoon, combined sports meeting of 9th and 10th battalions, held on battalion parade ground.
Battalion church parade on battalion parade ground.
Special parade today for General Officer in Command of 1st Anzac Corps (General Birdwood). Presentation of medals and ribbons. Afternoon – recreational training.
Specialist training and company in assault.
Battalion moved to reserve area [in] vicinity of Ypres. No stragglers.
Battalion employed improving dugouts.
Specialist training in the morning and battalion working on dugouts in the afternoon.
Specialist training and working parties sent to the line.
Battalion moved into reserve area today, relieving 7th battalion thereby.
SELECTED APPENDIX NOTE
Appendix 4 – From “Order Number 46”, October 29.
“…Companies are reminded that all clothing, overcoats, waterproof sheets, etc, are very valuable, no matter what state they may be in when returned.”