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50th History of the 50th Battalion AIF 1916-19 WW1

50th History of the 50th Battalion AIF 1916-19 WW1

Hurcombe's Hungry Half Hundred A Memorial of the 50th Battalion AIF 1916-1919
by R.R. Freeman

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This military 1st world war book chronicles the Battlion History of the Australian 50th Battalion AIF. The 50th Battalion was formed in Egypt in early 1916, when the Fighting 10th Battalion was split following the Gallipoli Anzac campaign.
The 50th Battalion which was largely comprised of men from the State of South Australia had distinguished service with the AIF 4th Division commanded by Monash.
Battles fought included Pozieres Bullecourt Passchendaele and Villes Bretonneux.
Battalion were importantly fought the Battle of Dernancourt where Australian forces were outnumbered by Germans.
Tthe author has drawn on vast amount of information to document the 50th Bn in high detail. A large high quality book with numerous personal information on individual soldiers. Has a large section devoted to after war pics of diggers - Anzac day reunion attendances. This impressive work ends with Honour roll, Full awards Roll with commendations and a nominal roll.

Brief History of the 50th

The 50th Battalion was raised in Egypt on 26 February 1916 as part of the “doubling” of the AIF. Approximately half of its recruits were veterans from the 10th Battalion, and the other half, fresh reinforcements from Australia. Reflecting the composition of the 10th, the 50th was predominantly composed of men from South Australia. The battalion became part of the 13th Brigade of the 4th Australian Division and was dubbed “Hurcombe’s Hungry Half Hundred”, after its first CO, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Hurcombe.

After arriving in France on 11 June 1916, the 50th fought in its first major battle at Mouquet Farm between 13 and 15 August and suffered heavily. It took part in another assault launched there on 3 September. The battalion saw out the rest of the year alternating between front-line duty, and training and labouring behind the line. This routine continued through the bleak winter of 1916-17.

Early in 1917, the battalion participated in the advance that followed the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and attacked at Noreuil on 2 April. For his actions at Noreuil Private Joergen Jensen was awarded the Victoria Cross. Later that year, the focus of AIF operations moved to the Ypres sector in Belgium. There the battalion was involved in the battle of Messines between 7 and 12 June and the battle of Polygon Wood on 26 September. Another winter of trench routine followed.

Utilising troops freed by the collapse of Russia in October 1917, the German Army launched a major offensive on the Western Front at the end of March 1918. The 4th Division was deployed to defend positions south of the River Ancre in France. At Dernancourt, on 5 April, the 50th Battalion assisted in the repulse of the largest German attack mounted against Australian troops during the war. The German threat persisted through April, and on ANZAC Day 1918 the 50th participated in the now- legendary attack to dislodge the enemy from Villers-Bretonneux.

The 50th Battalion continued to play an active role during the Allies’ own offensive, launched on 8 August 1918. Its last major operation of the war was the attack on the Hindenburg “outpost line” on 18 September, during which the 50th composed part of the 4th Division’s reserve. The 50th Battalion ceased to exist as a separate entity when it amalgamated with the 51st Battalion on 6 March 1919.



  • Book Condition: PERFECT - NEW BOOK
  • Comment: 2nd edition
  • Cover Soft (SB) or Hardback (HB): Heavy Hard Boards with Dust Jacket
  • Dimensions in mm : 225 x 300 x 30
  • Nominal Roll ? :- Has member,honour and award roll
  • Publication Date: 2008 revised and updated
  • Total Pages: 350 with revised sections date deaths known of diggers after the war ++
  • Weight in grams: 2000

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