3rd Field Company - Engineers
From Our Contribution
Jan 1915. Pontoon bridge across Suez Canal, which was built by the 3rd Field Company, Australian Engineers in 10 days. AWM A02557
Engineers, also known as sappers, were essential to the running of the war. Each Division had three Field Engineer Companies under command, numbered the same as the Brigades of the Division. The First Division thus had the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Field Company of Engineers on strength.
On Anzac Day, 25 April 1915, the First Division made an amphibious assault at what is now known as Anzac Cove, on the Gallipoli Peninsula. On Anzac Day the division was unable to capture its objectives but secured a toehold on the peninsula. It served throughout the campaign there. In May the 2nd Brigade was re-embarked and participated in the attack on Krithia at Helles but returned in time for the Turkish counter offensive on 19 May. During the August offensive, the First Division captured the Turkish positions around Line Pine. Finally, it was involved in the withdrawal to Egypt in December 1915.
In March 1916 it moved to France, taking over part of the line in the "nursery sector" around Armentieres. On 23 July 1916, it joined the Somme Offensive, capturing the town of Pozieres at great cost. A second tour of Pozieres followed in August and a third at Flers in October after a rest break in the Ypres sector.
During WW 1 the Engineers undertook a raft of tasks broadly divided into mobility, counter mobility and construction as well as survey and mapping, and specialised tunnelling and mining operations.
They undertook a broad range of tasks including preparation and supervision of the construction of defensive and gun positions, excavation of trenches and dugouts, erection of wire and other obstacles, preparation of command posts, signaling and water supply, field engineering, road and bridge construction and route maintenance. They also undertook obstacle breaching and crossing. For example in the lead up to the attack at Mont St Quentin the Engineers were required to carry out two river crossing / bridging operations.
- Frederick Fancote ??Jan 1915 - 12 Oct 1918
- 1 Distinguished Service Order
- 5 Military Crosses
- 2 Distinguished Conduct Medals
- 21 Military Medals
- 3 Meritorious Service Medals
- 12 Mentioned in Despatches
- 1 foreign award
Content for the history and honours sections has come from a combination of Wikipedia and the Australian War Memorial websites.
For further detail on the role this unit played during the war, see:
- Purple Patch - History of the 3rd Field Company Engineers in WW1 by Darren Prickett