Second Division




In June 1915, the General Officer Commanding the Australian Imperial Force, Major General John Gordon Legge, put forward a proposal to form a Second Division from units training in Egypt. This proposal was accepted by the Australian government on 10 July 1915 and Legge designated Brigadier General James W. McCay to command it. Unfortunately, McCay broke his leg the next day. Legge then took on the job himself.

The Division was formed in Egypt July 1915 and moved to Gallipoli in August, serving there until the withdrawal to Egypt in December 1915. In March 1916 it was the first division to move to France, taking over part of the "nursery" sector around Armentieres. On 27 July 1916, it relieved the First Division at Pozieres and captured the Pozieres Heights at great cost. Two more tours of the Somme followed in August and November.

In March 1917 a flying column of the Second Division pursued the Germans to the Hindenburg Line. At Lagnicourt on 15 April 1917, it struck by a powerful German counterattack, which it repelled. On 3 May 1917 the Division assaulted the Hindenburg Line in the Second Battle of Bullecourt, holding the breach thus gained against furious counterattacks. During the Third Battle of Ypres, it fought with great success at Menin Road in September and Broodeseinde in October.

In March 1918 the Second Division helped halt the German offensive in the Somme region and fought in the Battle of Hamel in July and the Battle of Amiens in August.

In September 1918 it took Mont Saint Quentin by storm in one of the finest feats of fighting of the war. It fought on to the Hindenburg Line and beyond, becoming the last division to be withdrawn.





Gallipoli: Defence of Anzac, Egypt: Defence of Suez Canal, Western Front: Pozieres, Advance to the Hindenburg Line, Bullecourt, Menin Road, Broodeseinde, Amiens, Mont St Quentin, Montebrehain





Mont Saint Quentin



Second Division (Egypt and Gallipoli, 1915)


  • 2nd Division Artillery
  • 4th Field Artillery Brigade [12 x 18 pounders]
  • 10th,11th,12th Field Artillery Batteries
  • 4th Brigade Ammunition Column
  • 5th Field Artillery Brigade [12 x 18 pounders]
  • 13th,14th,15th Field Artillery Batteries
  • 5th Brigade Ammunition Column
  • 6th Field Artillery Brigade [12 x 18 pounders]
  • 16th,17th,18th Field Artillery Batteries
  • 6th Brigade Ammunition Column
  • 2nd Division Engineers
  • 4th,5th Field Companies (New South Wales; Victoria)
  • 2nd Signal Company
  • 5th Infantry Brigade
  • 17th,18th,19th,20th Infantry Battalions (New South Wales)
  • 6th Infantry Brigade
  • 21st,22nd,23rd,24th Infantry Battalions (Victoria)
  • 7th Infantry Brigade
  • 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th Infantry Battalions (Queensland; Queensland and Tasmania; South Australia; Western Australia)
  • 2nd Division Medical Services
  • 5th,6th,7th Field Ambulances (New South Wales; Victoria; Outer States)
  • 13th Light Horse Regiment (Victoria)
  • 2nd Divisional Train
  • 15th,16th,17th, 20th Army Service Corps Companies
  • 2nd Mobile Veterinary Section


    Second Division (France, April 1916)




    Second Division (France, July 1916)




    Second Division (France, August 1917)




    Second Division (France, September 1918)



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    Page created by Ross Mallett
    Last update 28 June 2010