Progress update – slowly but surely

Fletch and Dan coming back to Igri Corner from Lagnicourt

Well I haven’t posted anything on the blog for three months which is probably a bit slack of me, so I thought I’d provide this quick update – just so you know we haven’t turned up our toes or anything…

Nick and I have both been very busy with work commitments, managing our sections at the Memorial, preparing the next Memorial exhibition, Advancing to Victory, 1918  (due to open late October), and Nick has also been over in France and Belgium for a couple of months, leading battlefield tour groups.

But anyway, work continues on the 56th Battalion book, slowly but surely.  Nick’s been working on 1916, while I’ve been concentrating on 1917.  I’ve been reading a lot about Bullecourt, just going over the events to get them firmly in mind so I can get a better perspective on it.  Not that the 56th played a very large role there – they didn’t, really only coming in for the last week of fighting there during mid May.  Still, it was a very hot few days in the cauldron where they suffered quite a few casualties and played a small part in repulsing the seventh and final counterattack of the Lehr Regiment.  I’ve also been piecing together events of a milder nature, during the so-called ‘long rest’ between the end of Bullecourt and Polygon Wood, and working on expanding the lead-up to the Polygon Wood battle.  Last year I wrote a short article about this battle which will form the nucleus of the chapter on one of the unit’s key events.  You can read this article online.

Apart from that, I’ve also been reading my way through several collections of personal letters and diaries which always make fascinating and fulfilling reading.  I’ll make a few brief posts on some of these individuals over the next couple of months I imagine.  Another task has been the ongoing compiling of a nominal roll.  So far we’ve identified about 2,000 men.

It’s great to hear from relatives and other interested parties who have, over the past few months, been steadily emerging as they hear about this project, and offering up photos, letters and diaries.

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3 Responses to “Progress update – slowly but surely”

  1. Ros Phillips Says:

    My great uncle Arthur Edward Phillips, was in the 56th Battalion. He died at Ypres, 28th September, 1917, and his name is on the Menin Gate as he has no grave. He was originally in the 1st LH and was transferred to the 56th in Nov 1916. I’ve been trying to find out his brigade and unit – his number was 276. He was serving in 11th LH when he enlisted 25.8.1914. Unfortunaltely we do not have any photos or letters from him. Are you able to give me any info on his unit/brigade etc as I would like to find where he was fighting when he died.
    Thank you
    Ros Phillips

    Editor’s response: Hi Ros, thanks for contacting us about your great uncle. I can see from his service record that he was still serving with the 56th Battalion when he was killed. 56th Battalion belonged to the 14th Brigade, which in turn belonged to the 5th Division. He was killed in action near Polygon Wood which is near Zonnebeke, between Ypres and Passchendaele in Belgium. The battalion had taken part in the capture of the wood on the morning of 26 September and were holding a line roughly along the eastern fringe of it on the 28th.

  2. frank robinson Says:

    looking for date and place of birth of No.276 Arthur Phillips as I am researching the 1st Light Horse also infoormation on his brother Henry Thomas Phillips.

    • Craig Tibbitts Says:

      Hi service record says he was born in (or near) Cootamundra, NSW. When he enlisted in August 1914 he gave his age as 24 years, 1 month. So if accurate, that makes him a July 1890 birth.

      Cheers,
      Craig.

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