16th Battalion

From Our Contribution

16th Battalion.jpg
Shoulder patch
16th Bn.jpg
16th Battalion men cleaning out a Gird Trench

Brief History

The 16th Battalion AIF was raised from 16 September 1914, six weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. Three-quarters of the battalion were recruited in Western Australia, and the rest in South Australia. With the 13th, 14th and 15th Battalions it formed the 4th Brigade commanded by Colonel John Monash. After a period of training in Western Australia, the battalion travelled by sea to Port Melbourne where hey disembarked and were for a time located at the Broadmeadows camp north of Melbourne where all elements of the 4th Brigade were gathering prior to travelling to Egypt as part of the 2nd Convoy. The 16th Battalion travelled to Alexandria in Egypt aboard HMAT A40 Ceramic, disembarking there on 1 Feb 1915.

When the 4th Brigade arrived in Egypt in early February 1915 it became part of the New Zealand and Australian Division which trained on the outskirts of Cairo before being called forward to Gallipoli. While 'C' Company travelled to Gallipoli onboard HMAT A48 Seang Bee, the rest of the battalion boarded HMT Haida Pascha for Mudros harbour on the island of Lemnos arriving outside the harbour late on 15 Apr 1915. The 4th Brigade landed at ANZAC late in the afternoon of 25 April 1915.

A week after the landing the 16th was thrown into the attack on Bloody Angle suffering many casualties. From May to August the battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead, and in August the 4th Brigade attacked Hill 971. The hill was taken at great cost, although Turkish reinforcements forced the Australians to withdraw. While on the Gallipoli Peninsular the battalion was engaged in the fighting at Bloody Angle, Quinn's, Hill 971, and Aghyl Dere. From 13 September until 2 November the battalion enjoyed a seven week break from the war on Lemnos Island before returning to the fray. The battalion evacuated ANZAC until the evacuation during the nights of 19th and 20th December.

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion returned to Egypt. While there the AIF expanded and was reorganised. The 16th Battalion was split and provided experienced soldiers for the 48th Battalion. The 4th Brigade was combined with the 12th and 13th Brigades to form the 4th Australian Division.

Its first major action in France was at Poziéres in the Somme valley. The battalion spent much of 1917 in Belgium advancing to the Hindenburg Line. The battalion, along with most of the 4th Brigade, suffered heavy losses at Bullecourt in April 1917, when the brigade attacked strong German positions without the promised tank support. In March and April 1918, the battalion helped to stop the German Spring offensive. The battalion participated in the great allied offensive of 1918, fighting near Amiens on 8 August 1918. This advance by British and empire troops was the greatest success in a single day on the Western Front, one that German General Erich Ludendorff described as '..the black day of the German Army in this war'. The battalion continued operations until late September 1918.

Battalion Personnel






  • John James Emery  ?? - 1 May 1915 - KIA Gallipoli as a reinforcement before joining the battalion





  • James Kirk 15 Sep 1914 - 3 May 1915 - WIA Gallipoli












  • George Young 15 Oct 1914 - 28 Apr 1915 - WIA Pope's Hill, Gallipoli

Battle Honours

  • Anzac
  • Landing at Anzac
  • Defence of Anzac
  • Suvla
  • Sari Bair
  • Gallipoli, 1915
  • Egypt, 1915-16
  • Somme, 1916-18
  • Pozières
  • Bullecourt
  • Messines, 1917
  • Ypres, 1917
  • Menin Road
  • Polygon Wood
  • Passchendaele
  • Arras, 1918
  • Ancre, 1918
  • Hamel
  • Amiens
  • Albert, 1918
  • Hindenburg Line
  • Epéhy
  • France and Flanders, 1916-18

Individual Honours

  • 3 Victoria Crosses (Pte Martin O'Meara, LCpl Tom Axford, Lt LD "Fats" McCarthy)
  • 2 Companion of the Order of Bath
  • 1 Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
  • 12 Distinguished Service Orders and 1 bar
  • 25 Military Crosses and 5 bars, one second bar
  • 30 Distinguished Service Orders and 1 bar
  • 163 Military Medals and 12 bars
  • 5 Meritorious Service Medals
  • 50 Mentioned in Despatches and
  • 7 foreign awards.

Notes - further reading

History sourced from the AWM website. Accessed 29 Dec 2017. For further detail see:

  • The Old Sixteenth by Capt C. Longmore, 1929, History Committee of the 16th Battalion Association.

External Links