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Order of Battle for
25 April 1915
Article by Paul Nixon
1st Australian Division - Order of Battle 25th April 1915
This article will look at the Order of Battle for the 1st Australian Division and its landing at Anzac Cove on the 25th April 1915. Before that though, it will be useful to have a brief look at military organisation and structure in Australia prior to 1914, and the changes that were effected from August that year.
The Federation of Australia in 1901 was followed, on 1st March 1904, by The Defence Act 1903. The provisions of this Act did not permit the establishment of a regular infantry force but rather recognised that the Commonwealth military forces would largely be based on a part-time militia. Known as the Citizens Forces or Citizen Military Forces and formed into sequentially numbered battalions, many of these men would later serve in the Australian Imperial Force battalions formed in 1914.
The Australian Imperial Force (AIF) was a purely volunteer force formed on the 15th August 1914. Today it is known as the 1st AIF to distinguish it for the 2nd AIF which was raised on the 15th September 1939. Over 330,000 men served with the AIF during the First World War of whom close to 62,000 were killed and a further 150,000 wounded.
Two divisions took part in the landing at Anzac Cove. These were the 1st Australian Division, commanded by Major-General William Throsby Bridges CMG, and the Australian and New Zealand Division, commanded by Major-General Sir Alexander Godley KCMG.
The 1st Australian Division at Gallipoli
The 1st Australian Division was comprised of 12 infantry battalions formed into three infantry brigades. These brigades in turn were supported by artillery, engineers, mounted infantry, army service corps and medical services. The component parts of the 1st Australian Division were as follows:
1st (New South Wales) Infantry Brigade (commanded by Colonel Henry MacLaurin)
- 1st New South Wales Battalion: formed at Randwick, Sydney in August 1914
- 2nd New South Wales Battalion: formed at Randwick, Sydney in August 1914, most of the men coming from the Maitland, Newcastle and Hunter Valley regions of New South Wales
- 3rd New South Wales Battalion: formed at Randwick, Sydney in August 1914, most of the men being drawn from the Werriwa area of New South Wales
- 4th New South Wales Battalion: formed in Randwick, Sydney in August 1914, the majority of the men being drawn from inner Sydney, Albury, Cootanundra, Goulburn and Wagga Wagga
2nd (Victoria) Infantry Brigade (commanded by Colonel James Whiteside McCay)
- 5th Victoria Battalion: raised in Melbourne [?] in August 1914, many of the volunteers having previously served with the 52nd Citizens Force Battalion (Victorian Scottish Regiment), a volunteer unit of the colonial Victorian Military Forces
- 6th Victoria Battalion: raised in Victoria in August 1914 from Melbourne and the surrounding areas. Many of the volunteers had previously served with the 55th, 56th, 63rd and 64th Citizens Force Battalions
- 7th Victoria Battalion: raised and recruited in Victoria in August 1914
- 8th Victoria Battalion: raised and recruited in Victoria in August 1914
3rd Infantry Brigade (commanded by Colonel Ewen Sinclair-MacLagan)
- 9th Queensland Battalion: recruited and raised in Queensland in August 1914
- 10th South Australian Battalion: raised at Adelaide in the 17th August 1914
- 11th West Australian Battalion: raised in August 1914 it was the first battalion to be recruited in Western Australia
- 12th Tasmania Battalion: recruited from South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia
Two companies each of the 9th, 10th and 11th Battalions constituted the first wave of men to land at Anzac Cove. The remaining two companies of the 9th, 10th and 11th Battalions, as well as the complete 12th Battalion (originally intended to be brigade reserve) formed the second wave of men to land at on the Gallipoli beaches.
1st Division Artillery
- I (New South Wales) Field Artillery Brigade (1st, 2nd & 3rd Batteries): raised at Sydney on the 16th August 1914
- II (Victoria) Field Artillery Brigade (4th, 5th & 6th Batteries): raised at Melbourne in August 1914
- III (Queensland) Field Artillery Brigade (7th, 8th & 9th Batteries): raised in August 1914
- 1st Australian Divisional Ammunition Column
Arrived ashore over several days.
1st Division Engineers
- 1st Australian, 2nd Australian and 3rd Australian Field Companies: recruited in New South Wales, Victoria, Outer States
- 1st Australian Divisional Signals Company
4th Light Horse Regiment
Raised at Melbourne on 11th August 1914 as the divisional cavalry regiment for the 1st Division, the regiment was in fact mounted infantry. Did not take part in the Anzac Cove landing in April 1915 but was held back, landing between 22nd and 24th May.
2nd Light Horse Brigade
- 5th Light Horse Regiment: a mounted infantry unit raised at Brisbane in September 1914 from volunteers from Queensland
- 6th Light Horse Regiment: a mounted infantry unit recruited from volunteers in New South Wales
- 7th Light Horse Regiment: a mounted infantry unit originally intended to be a composite regiment drawing squadrons from Queensland, South Australia and West Australia but ultimately recruited exclusively from volunteers in New South Wales
In common with the 4th Light Horse Regiment, the 2nd Light Horse Brigade remained in Egypt until May 1915 when it was deployed as reinforcements to replace the heavy casualties sustained at Gallipoli.
1st Division Medical Services
- 1st Australian, 2nd Australian and 3rd Australian Field Ambulances: recruited in New South Wales, Victoria, Outer States
1st Australian Divisional Train, Army Service Corps
The map of Anzac Cove is published on the Gallipoli Association website.
Paul Nixon, Military Expert at findmypast
Paul Nixon's paternal grandfather, maternal great-grandfather and countless great uncles and second cousins served their King and Country during the First World War. Paul's interest began in the early 1980s when he interviewed and corresponded with scores of surviving Great War veterans in southern England and the Midlands and subsequently published research on the community of Chailey in Sussex between 1914 and 1918. In recent years, Paul has studied recruitment patterns in the British Army in depth and is considered an expert in regimental numbers between 1881 and 1918. When he does not have his head buried in a military database Paul is the attentive father to three small children, and the loving husband of a long-suffering wife.