The battle of Broodseinde Ridge (in Belgium) was the third operation in the Passchendaele campaign (3rd Battle of Ypres) of 1917.
The attack to capture the village of Broodseinde began before dawn on the 4th of October 1917. It was a large operation, involving twelve divisions, which included British, Australian and a New Zealand Division, attacking along a 10 kilometre front. In the centre was I and II Anzac Corps, composed of three Australian divisions and the New Zealand Division.
Before the attack began, a seventh of Australians soldiers became casualties through heavily enemy shelling. The Germans had also launched an attack of their own and the Australians were confronted with enemy troops coming towards them. Our soldiers proceeded on through the German assault waves and gained all their objectives along the ridge. The cost was heavy with the enemy's pillboxes difficult to overcome. The Australian divisions suffered 6,500 casualties.
After the attack, the rain and mud made artillery movement on the battlefield difficult. On the 9th and 12th of October Australian soldiers attacked towards Passchendaele. The enemy's counter attacks pushed back the small number of Australians who had reached the outskirts of Passchendaele. Depleted and exhausted, the Australians were replaced by the Canadian Corps, which took Passchendaele on the 6th of November, which finalised the Third Battle of Ypres. It cost the Canadians 16,000 casualties.
The push for Passchendaele Ridge on the 12th of October also cost 845 New Zealand lives and 2700 were wounded. It was the New Zealand Divisionís greatest disaster.
Tyne Cot is the largest Commonwealth War Graves cemetery and contains the largest number of Australians in any one cemetery. It is situated at the top of Broodseinde Ridge and has two intact German pillboxes. Around 300,000 Australians served on The Western Front in atrocious conditions, many of them having survived the Gallipoli campaign. More than 46,000 died in France and Belgium. About 11,000 have no known grave. There were more than 132,000 Australians wounded - many soldiers being wounded more than once. Australia's casualty rate was around 65 per cent and was the highest in the British Empire. Australian army nurses also caught trench diseases like dysentery, measles, typhus, influenza and mumps. The new video above entitled 'You never came home' is a memorial to the Australians who died on the Western Front in WW1. From 1916 to 1918, nearly half of all Australians that died in all wars and battles (including WW2), died on the Western Front in less than two and a half years. The image you see for the video are Australian stretcher bearers and dressers lying utterly exhausted in the mud after 60 hours without rest.
Lest We Forget.
The words to 'You never came home' on the video above were written by Peter Barnes the author of 'Can You Hear Australia's Heroes Marching?' Photographs from the Australian War Memorial. Music is Chopin's Funeral March. Video created and produced by Peter Barnes - you can contact Peter here.
You can download the words to 'You never came home'here.
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