Learning Sequences

For History teachers and students

Developed by HTAA (The History Teachers' Association of Australia)

Unit 1 - World War I - Enlistment and Fighting on the Western Front

Part 2: Fighting on the Western Front


New recruits for the AIF usually went into a military camp in Australia for basic training before being sent overseas for active service. Depending on when they enlisted, this would usually mean that a recruit was sent to Egypt or England for further training before moving to a battlefield to join their unit.

Those who enlisted in the second half of 1915 usually went to Egypt, where they continued their training. When the Australians were evacuated from Gallipoli, they were sent back to Egypt, where the AIF was expanded and reorganised. Instead of taking all the new recruits to form new units, experienced battalions* from Gallipoli were split in half and combined with new battalions to form new units. This way one battalion became two, but both had the same amount of experienced and inexperienced men.

* A group of about 800 soldiers who fought together in battle.

Refer to Western Front Sources (SR 3) and answer the following questions.

  1. Using Source A, list the variety of experiences Private Edwards had after leaving Australia in November 1915. You may use dot-points or a mind-map to record your information.
  2. Explain how Source B and Source C contribute to your understanding of Edward Edwards’ military service in the First World War.
  3. Using Source C and Source D, describe the Battle of Pozières in 1916.
  4. How might a historian use Source E to reflect on the Australians’ role in the Battle of Pozières?
  5. Complete ONE of the following tasks in 300 – 400 words:
    1. Describe Private Edward Edwards’ military service during the First World War. Refer to any three of the sources provided in your response.
    2. To what extent were the military experiences of Private Edward Edwards typical of Australian soldiers during the First World War? Use any two of the sources provided and evidence from your own research in your response.