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World War I and Australia

Western Front

Belgium and France

One of the most important battlegrounds in the war was the Western Front in Belgium and France, an area that ran almost 700 kilometres in length. The Australian Imperial Force moved to France early in 1916 and by July were heavily engaged in battle. By the end of the year about 40,000 Australians had been killed on the Western Front. The development of machine guns and artillery weapons, and a strategy where defence was favoured over attack, meant that fighting in this area continued almost until the end of the war.

Infantry marching ahead in single file to the front line
Digital order number: a479011

References

Diaries and letters written on the Western Front

Many of our diaries and letters cover a number of Western Front battles.

Fromelles

The Somme Offensive – Pozières and Mouquet Farm, France

Bullecourt, France

  • Albert Richmond Compton
    Compton served in the 13th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement at Gallipoli and in France. On 11 April 1917, he was captured by the Germans at Bullecourt. You can read the transcript online.
  • James I. Marshall
    Marshall was a signaller in the 53rd Battalion, 5th Reinforcements.
  • Edwin Walter Phelps
    Phelps served with the 45th Battalion and was transferred to the 13th Battalion in March 1917. He was wounded and taken prisoner in April 1917 at Bullecourt.

Messines, Belgium

Third Battle of Ypres – Menin Road, Glencorse Wood, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde Ridge and Passchendaele

  • James Lindsell
    Lindsell served in the 14th Machine Gun Company. He was wounded three times: 21 August 1915 in Gallipoli, 15 May 1917 near Bullecourt in France and 26 September 1917 at Polygon Wood in Belgium. You can view the diary and transcript online.
  • Harold Burfield Taylor
    Burfield served in the 19th Battalion. He was promoted to Lieutenant in June 1916 and then to Captain in February 1917. He won the Military Cross for bravery at Lagincourt in April 1917 and won a Bar to his Military Cross in October 1917 for capturing Daisy Wood, east of Ypres, Belgium.

Villers-Bretonneux, France

Mont St Quentin, France

  • Francis Joseph Campbell Brewer
    Brewer served in the 20th Battalion, 20th Reinforcement, 5th Brigade, 2nd Division. The 5th Brigade was responsible for the capture of the fortress of Mont St Quentin.
  • Francis William Roberts
    Roberts served in the 21st Battalion, 6th Brigade, 2nd Division. He was killed in the attack on Mont St Quentin, France on 1 September 1918. You can read the transcript online.

ebooks

Photographs and artworks of the Western Front

We have an extensive collection of photographs and artworks from World War I including:

Search our Manuscripts, Oral History and Pictures catalogue to find more photographs and artworks. Use keywords such as a specific location and the term 'photographs', for example, 'Ypres photographs' when searching.

In our World War I collection we have some of George Washington Lambert's artworks. We received these with his papers from his war service 1915-1919.

George Washington Lambert's identity disc in the shape of an palette
Digital order number: a3204001

 

On the Somme, probably near Pozieres

Digital order number: a7214014

Maps of the Western Front

We have a variety of situation, position and barrage maps on the Western Front.

View some examples of these maps of the Western Front.

 

Military Cross and Bar awarded to Lt. J Maxwell, 1918
Digital order number: a6189001

Tips

To find books, pictures, maps, diaries and other resources, do a keyword search using names of battles such as Somme or Ypres on the Library's catalogues: books, newspapers, maps and diaries, photographs, artworks

 

'The Village cop' by Vasco Loureiro, 1917

Digital order number: a7301011

Copying, publishing or purchasing digital copies

You can make copies of pictures for research and study purposes by:

  • using a digital camera
  • using our microfilm reader printers 
  • ordering paper or electronic copies
  • ordering high quality digital scans
  • purchasing microfilm  

You need to contact us for permission to publish our original materials. You must also acknowledge the Library and provide the correct location details. 

Find out more about copying, purchasing digital copies and publishing.