28th Battalion

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28th Battalion
28th Battalion.jpg
Shoulder patch
28th Bn.jpg
28th's arrival parade in Cairo 1915. AWM photo P00700.001

Brief History

The 28th Battalion came into existence on 16 April 1915 when it was raised at Blackboy Hill Camp, in Western Australia. the 28th Battalion's first batch of volunteers came from personnel who had originally been allocated to the 24th Battalion (subsequently the 24th became a Victorian raised battalion). It was allocated to the 7th Brigade, which besides the 28th and several support units, also consisted of the 25th, 26th and 27th Battalions. The 28th Battalion sailed for Egypt aboard HMAT A11 Ascanius on 9 Jun 1915, arriving at Port Tewfik, Egypt on 2 Jul 1915 and, after travelling in a convoy of four trains with other units, concentrated along with the rest of the 7th Brigade at Abbassia near Cairo, where they were assigned to the newly formed Australian 2nd Division.

In September 1915 elements of the division were dispatched to Gallipoli to provide reinforcements for the Australian and New Zealand forces that had been fighting around Anzac Cove since April. Following further training in Abbassia and a period manning the 'Citadel', the battalion boarded a train at Qubba Station for Alexandria on 3 Sep 1915 where they boarded HMT Ivernia which sailed that night for Mudros harbour on Lemnos. On 10 Sep 1915 they were transshipped to HMT Sarnia for Gallipoli where they were taken to Williams Pier by barges. The Battalion's service on Gallipoli ended when the the battalion less its Machine Gunners boarded the crowded HMT Osmanieh on 12 Dec 1915 (she sailed for Mudros on 13 December, disembarking her troops the following day). The Machine Gunners were landed at Mudross on 20 Dec 1915. THe battalion's casualties for their time on Gallipoli was 50 dead, 84 wounded and 355 evacuated due to illness.

After spending Christmas on Lemnos, the 28th returned to Egypt in early January 1916. Further training followed before the 7th Brigade was deployed in defence of the Suez Canal. The 28th Battalion was transferred to France, as part of the first body of Australian troops to deploy to the European battlefield, boarding HMAT A32 Themistocles in Alexandria which sailed at 5:30pm on 16 March for Marseilles where it arrived at 3:30pm on the 21st. The battalion's Transport Officer Reginald Grove Sexty MID and twenty five others had preceded the battalion by two days travelling on HMT Minneapolis. The battalion entrained for Thiennes in northern France where they arrived at 6:45pm on the 24th, and then marched to Morbecque, west of Armentieres.

The 28th's first major action came during the Battle of Poziéres in late July and early August when they took part in two attacks. During the first attack, the 28th suffered heavily when they were committed to a night-time attack on the heights that got held up in heavy wire entanglements that the preparatory bombardment had failed to destroy; the battalion's losses were the heaviest in the 7th Brigade, amounting to 10 officers and 360 other ranks. A follow up attack was undertaken on 4 August, which proved more successful, eventually securing the objective. The following day, the Australians were subjected to heavy shelling before they were withdrawn on 6 August.

During 1917 the 28th Battalion was mainly used in supporting roles in a series of battles that followed the German strategic retreat to the Hindenburg Line. Actions were fought at Bullecourt, Menin Road, Broodseinde and Poelcappelle, before the battalion wintered in Belgium. in 1918 it was transferred to the Somme again in response to the German Spring Offensive. In late March and early April, they held the line around Villers-Bretonneux as the Allies fought to defend the vital railhead of Amiens, before providing support to the 6th Brigade's attack on Ville-sur-Ancre in May.

In June and July as the Allies attempted to regain the initiative, the 28th was involved in a minor action around Morlancourt. On 8 August, the Allies launched their Hundred Days Offensive during which the 28th Battalion was initially engaged around Villers-Bretonneux. In late August, the Australian 2nd Division advanced to the Somme River, and on 29 August, as the 7th Brigade attacked around Biaches, the 28th was assigned the task of capturing the Amiens–Peronne railway bridge. The following day, they forced their way across the river around Peronne, and during the subsequent Battle of Mont St Quentin–Peronne, they joined the 7th Brigade's advance towards Aizecourt-le-Haut. They continued fighting until early October 1918 when they were withdrawn from the line following an attack on the Beaureviour Line, near the village of Estrees. Throughout the war, casualties amongst the 28th totaled 787 killed and 2,241 wounded.

Battalion Personnel











  • Leo Patrick Kane 18 Dec 1916 - 2 Mar 1919 - WIA X 2 - Warlencourt 11 Mar 1917 & Morlancourt 10 Jun 1918
  • Henry Richard Keefe 16 Apr 1915 - 28 Sep 1916 - transferred to Base Depots
  • Basil Kelley 16 Apr 1915 - 10 Jun 1918 - KIA Morlancourt
  • Osborne King 18 Jan - 26 Mar 1917 - KIA Lagnicourt












Battle Honours

  • Gallipoli 1915
  • Egypt 1915–16
  • Somme 1916–18
  • Poziéres
  • Bullecourt
  • Ypres 1917
  • Menin Road
  • Polygon Wood
  • Broodseinde
  • Poelcappelle
  • Passchendaele
  • Amiens
  • Albert 1918
  • Mont St. Quentin
  • Hindenburg Line
  • Beaurevoir
  • France and Flanders 1916–18.

Individual Honours

  • 1 Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)
  • 5 Distinguished Service Orders (DSOs)
  • 20 Military Crosses (MCs) and two bars (Douglas Gordon Scott MC)
  • 14 Distinguished Conduct Medals (DCMs)
  • 69 Military Medals (MMs) and two bars (Alfred James Hansen MM)
  • 5 Meritorious Service Medals (MSMs)
  • 21 Mentions in Despatches (MIDs) and (Reginald Grove Sexty MID)
  • 6 foreign awards


Content for the history and honours sections has come from a combination of Wikipedia and the Australian War Memorial websites. For further reading see:

  • The 28th - A record of War service with the AIF 1915 - 1919, Colonel HB Collett, 1922, Trustees ofthe Public Library, Museum, and Art Gallery of WA
  • The Blue & White Diamond - 28th Battalion Neville Browning, Advance Press, undated

External Links