12th Infantry Battalion AIF, (TAS) 3rd Brigade, 1st Division

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About This Unit

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The 12th Battalion was raised to become part of the 3rd Brigade in the 1st Division. Its colour patch tells the story;  the rectangle signifies the 1st Division.  The pale blue lower portion signifies the third brigade in the division.  The white upper signifies the fourth battalion of that brigade.  

The 12th Battalion was drawn largely from Tasmania but about 50% of the unit was comprised of South and Western Australians. Many of the South Australians were from the Port Pirie region in that State's mid North.

The Third Brigade comprised Battalions from the smaller States. It was also destined to be the Covering Force (ie first ashore) at Gallipoli.  The Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel L.F. Clark was the first of a significant number of unit COs killed at Gallipoli. He was shot and killed by an enemy sniper within hours of the landing.  

After withdrawal from Gallipoli in December 1915, the Battalion served on the Western Front and participated in fighting at Pozieres / Mouquet Farm, the follow up of the  German consolidation at the Hindenburg Line, where two Victoria Crosses were won by Captain Newand and Sergean Whittle.  The battalion then moved with its parent Brigade to Belgium and the Third Ypres campaign.  The 12th was heavily invovled at Menin Road, in Reserve at Polygon Wood, in supports at Broodseinde took part in Second Passchendaele.

In 1918 the Battalion along with the rest of the 3rd Brigade spent a lot of time in the Flanders area and countered the German April offensive in the Lys, Hazebrouck and Merris sectors.  It took part in the "Last Hundred Days" offensive after being brought south to the Somme.  After fighting near Albert, the Battalion was involved in the final battles of its war around the Hindenburg Line / Epéhy. Operations finished in late September 1918.  The Battalion along with the rest of the AIF was out of the line being reinforced after the losses of the Hundred Days campaign when the Armistice was declared on November 11th 1918.

The men of the 12th Battalion who survived the Great War, like their peers throughout Australia, came home to get on with the rest of their lives. Many didn't last long. The after effects of wounds, gassing, disease, injury and psychological scars all took their toll, often quite quickly. The men formed Associations out of which was spawned organisations like the RSL to look after their injured colleagues and Legacy to take care of the widows and families of the fallen. 

Men of the 12th Battalion were  2 VC; 1 CB; 2 CMG; 5 DSO, 1 bar; 31 MC, 2 bars, 1 2nd bar; 23 DCM, 1 bar; 132 MM, 16 bars, 3 2nd bars; 5 MSM; 59 MID; 8 foreign awards. 

During the course of military service, 1,135 men of the Battalion were killed in action and 2,422 wounded.

Battle/Campaign/ Involvement

ANZAC / Gallipoli (/explore/campaigns/1) - 25 April 1915 to 19 December 1915

Lone Pine (/explore/campaigns/3) / Sari Bair / Suvla - 6th August 1915

Pozières (/explore/campaigns/6) - 23 July 1916 to 4 September 1916

Mouquet Farm (/explore/campaigns/103) - 8 August 1916 to 5 September 1916

Second Bullecourt (/explore/campaigns/6) - 3 May 1917 to 17 May 1917

Menin Road (/explore/campaigns/26) - 20 September 1917 to 25 September 1917

Broodseinde (/explore/campaigns/18) - 4 October 1917 to 5 October 1917

Poelcapelle - 9 October 1917

2nd Passchendaele (/explore/campaigns/29) - 26 October - 10 November 1917

Hazebrouck (/explore/campaigns/80) -12 April 1918 to 15 April 1918

Amiens (/explore/campaigns/14) - 8 August 1918 to 11 August 1918

Albert 1918 - (incl Chuignes) 21 August 1918 to 23 August 1918

Epehy - 2 October 1918 to 5 October 1918

Generic Battle Honours included :

ANZAC 1915 - service in the prescribed area during the period of the campaign Apr-Dec 1915

Gallipoli 1915  - service in the prescribed area including the island of Lemnos

Defence of Anzac 1915 - Defence of the beachead May - June 1915

Egypt 1915-16 - Defence of the Suez Canal zone

France and Flanders 1916-18 - Service in prescribed zones

Somme 1916-18 - Service in prescribed zones

Ypres 1917  (/explore/campaigns/8) - The Third Ypres campaign

Compiled by Steve Larkins Jul 2013 updated Dec 2020

We would particularly like to encourage individual historians researchers or members of unit associations to contribute to the development of a more detailed history and photographs pertaining to this unit and its members.

Please contact  admin@vwma.org.au (mailto:admin@vwma.org.au)  for details on how to contribute.

 

 

 

 

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The 'A' ANZAC motif

'ANZAC' insignia

Members of the Australian Imperial Force who served on Gallipoli will be entitled to wear over the Unit “Colour Patch” on both sleeves of the Service Dress Jacket and Greatcoat the letter “A” an indication that the wearer had taken part in the operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula. - Military Order 354 of 1917

Members of the Australian Imperial Force who served on Gallipoli or the Islands of Lemnos, Imbros and Tenedos, or who have served on transports or hospital ships at or off Gallipoli or the Islands above-named, or in AIF lines of communication Units in Egypt will be entitled to wear over their Unit “Colour Patches” on both sleeves of their Service Dress Jacket and Greatcoat the letter “A” as an indication that the wearer had taken part in the Gallipoli operations. - Military Order 20 of 1918

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