Title: From Anzac to the Hindenburg Line – the History of the 9th Battalion, A.I.F.
Author: Harvey, Norman K
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2009
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 300 pages
Comments: The detailed history of the Ninth Battalion AIF – an exceptionally rare book as a 1st edition.
The 9th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. It was the first battalion recruited in Queensland, and with the 10th, 11th and 12th Battalions it formed the 3rd Brigade.
The battalion was raised within weeks of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked just two months later. After preliminary training, the battalion sailed to Egypt, arriving in early December. The 3rd Brigade was the covering force for the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915, and so was the first ashore at around 4.30 am. The battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead. It served at ANZAC until the evacuation in December 1915.
After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion returned to Egypt. It was split to help form the 49th Battalion and bought up to strength with reinforcements. In March 1916 the battalion sailed for France and the Western Front. From then until 1918 the battalion took part in operations against the German Army. The battalion’s first major action in France was at Pozières in the Somme valley. The 9th Battalion attacked on the extreme right of the line and it was during this action that Private John Leak won, with the bayonet, the battalion’s only Victoria Cross. Later the battalion fought at Ypres, in Flanders, before returning to the Somme for winter. In 1917 the battalion moved back to Belgium for the advance to the Hindenburg Line, and in March and April1918 helped stop the German spring offensive. The battalion participated in the great allied offensive of 1918 and fought near Amiens on 8 August. The advance by British and empire troops was the greatest success in a single day on the Western Front, one that German General Erich Ludendorff described as “the black day of the German Army in this war”.
The battalion continued operations until late September 1918. At 11 am on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent. The November armistice was followed by the peace treaty of Versailles, signed on 28 June 1919.
In November 1918 members of the AIF began to return to Australia for demobilisation and discharge. On 5 February 1919, the 9th and 10th Battalions were amalgamated.