Date of publication: March 2010
Publisher: The History Press
At Fromelles in July 1916 two divisions – one British and one Australian – within a few weeks of arriving in France – went into action for the first time. Their task was to prevent the Germans from moving troops to the Somme where a major British offensive was in progress, but the attack on 19/20 July was a disaster with nearly 7,000 casualties in a few hours.
This account explores this battle which for many epitomises the futility of the Great War. In those few hours many heroic deeds were done but the battle caused a souring of Anglo-Australian relationships and truly was a baptism of fire for these British and Australian troops. This is their history.
In a new section, Paul Cobb explores the recent discovery in 2008/09 of a mass war grave on the battlefield and includes details of the findings of the archaeological dig, the recovery of 250 bodies and the creation of a new military cemetery.
Paul Cobb is a keen historian, who has spent ten years researching the battle and the men who fought in it, through the archives of the Imperial War Museum, the National Archives and the Australian War Memorial, Canberra. He regularly conducts talks on the battle. He lives in Lechlade, Gloucestershire.