Fromelles and Pozieres: In the Trenches of Hell
In the Trenches of Hell
On 19 July 1916, 7000 Australian soldiers - in the first major action of the AIF on the Western Front - attacked entrenched German positions at Fromelles in northern France. By the next day, there were over 5500 casualties, including nearly 2000 dead - a bloodbath that the Australian War Memorial describes as 'the worst 24 hours in Australia's entire history.
Just days later, three Australian Divisions attacked German positions at nearby Poziores, and over the next six weeks they suffered another 23,000 casualties. Of that bitter battle, the great Australian war correspondent Charles Bean would write, 'The field of Poziores is more consecrated by Australian fighting and more hallowed by Australian blood than any field which has ever existed . . .'
Yet the sad truth is that, nearly a century on from those battles, Australians know only a fraction of what occurred. This book brings the battles back to life and puts the reader in the moment, illustrating both the heroism displayed and the insanity of the British plan. With his extraordinary vigour and commitment to research, Peter FitzSimons shows why this is a story about which all Australians can be proud. And angry.
Peter FitzSimons is a journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald, and a busy events and motivational speaker. He is the author of over twenty-seven books, including Tobruk, Kokoda, Batavia, Eureka, Ned Kelly, Gallipoli and biographies of Douglas Mawson, Nancy Wakee Kim Beazleye Nick Farr-Jonese Les Darcy, Steve Waugh and John Eales, and is one of Australia's biggest selling non-fiction authors of the last twenty years. Peter was named a Member of the Order of Australia for service to literature as a biographer, sports journalist and commentator, and to the community through contributions to conservation, disability care, social welfare and sporting organisations. He is also Chair of the Australian Republican Movement. He lives with his wife, Lisa Wilkinson, and their three children in Sydney.