Cobbers remembered: Fromelles recommended reading

Darragh Christie, 19 June 2016 · #

Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918

Fromelles : our darkest day by Patrick Lindsay, 2007, 2016

Accessible, enjoyable read. Excellent introduction and explanation of the battle and all those involved. The second half of the book is devoted to the fascinating story of the discovery and re-internment of missing Australian war dead.

A chapter on Lance-Corporal Adolf Hitler who, unfortunately, wasn’t picked off running messages between trenches. Interestingly enough Hitler’s first evening – after signing France’s defeat in 1940 in the train carriage used for German acceptance of unconditional surrender in 1918 – was spent with a few veterans of his old Bavarian division. Hitler paid a visit to Fromelles, took photos of the pillbox he sheltered in during the Australian attack and dedicated a plaque in his old billet.

Peter Barton opened a talk at Stanton Library in 2014 with one of the reasons why this battle was significant, bringing up a picture of a photo of two German commanders. “These two men would have known Adolf Hitler, he would have taken messages to them and taken messages from them to headquarters. Fromelles formed a part of the making of the mind of a monster. That was part of his formation, the formation of his mind, of what he had to endure in the First World War, his wounding and his gassing and then the appalling Versailles treaty.” – Richard Jackson, “North Sydney Times”:

The following appendices were also useful and include the game changing Appendix VI Major-General von Braun Order No. 5220: Appendix I The Order of Battle, Fromelles; Appendix II The Missing Diggers of Fromelles; Appendix III 5th Division AIF Deaths, Fromelles. Appendix IV Casualties of World War I Appendix V Brothers who Died at the Battle of Fromelles; Appendix VI Major-General von Braun Order No. 5220.

The lost legions of Fromelles : the true story of the most dramatic battle in Australia’s history by Peter Barton, 2014

Written by world’s recognised leading Fromelles historian commissioned by the Australian Government to carry out research into the Pheasant Wood fallen. Excellent up to date research drawing on translations of German military documents. Unit and intelligence reports of interrogations of prisoners with interesting conclusions. Updated research on grave repatriations and comparisons with reporting by C.E.W Bean. Excellent full colour map plates from German archives. Paul Daley from the Guardian has a review.

Fromelles: the final chapters by Tim Lycett and Sandra Playle, 2016

“This is the story of a mission to identify and reclaim those lost Diggers. Former forensic crime scene investigator Tim Lycett details how determined volunteers worked with bureaucracies across the world to link the dead with their families nearly a century after the event. He brings to light the deeply moving personal stories of Australian soldiers who died on the battlefield of Fromelles, and who might otherwise have remained unknown forever.”

The battle of Fromelles : 1916 by Roger Lee, 2010

Excellent break down of battle into stages, Brigades and Battalions. Analysis of big picture strategy. Biographies of key players. Excellent sub pages devoted to types of ordinance and technology — trench weaponry artillery, mortars, rifles, machine guns etc. Clear and relevant maps, some original help the reader understand to narrative of the battle. Colour photos of the Pheasant Wood dig.

The story continued…

1. Cobbers remembered: Fromelles 19/06/1916

2. Cobbers remembered: Lost Diggers of the 53rd

3. Cobbers remembered: Allan Allsop’s ‘terrible night’

4. Cobbers remembered: Mosman’s dead