Battle of Villers-BretonneuxPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

The plaque commemorates those who served in the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918 During World War One.

As part of the German Spring Offensive on the Western Front German forces using infantry and tanks captured Villers-Bretonneux (near Amiens) from exhausted British defenders on 24 April 1918. The Australian 13th and 15th Brigades were brought forward and in a model of a well planned and co-ordinated night attack successfully recaptured the town.

As they moved to the start line, the 15th Brigade, said one observer, were ‘tugging and straining at the leash’. Many realised that in a few hours it would be the third anniversary of the Anzac landings. They were eager to show themselves equal to the occasion. As they advanced, the 59th Battalion’s forward troops came under machine gun fire. They were ordered to charge. The tension of the long day released, the Australians sprang forward with a terrifying roar that swept along the line.  The Germans were overwhelmed, the Australians advanced through machine gun and small arms fire deep into enemy territory.  It was, said Pompey Elliott, ‘a soldiers’ fight’ decided by the courage of junior officers and their infantrymen.

South of Villers-Bretonneux the 13th Brigade was held up by heavy machine gun fire from nearby woods they believed cleared. Lieutenant Cliff Sadlier and Sergeant Charlie Stokes led a party into the trees to deal with them, an action for which Stokes received the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Sadlier the Victoria Cross. The attack continued and some of the Brigade were almost on their final objective when the surviving officers elected to fall back and consolidate a position south of the town centre.

General Monash wrote a week after the battle that he considered the attack ‘the finest thing yet done in the war, by Australians or any other troops.’ It cost the 13th Brigade 1009 casualties and the 15th a further 455, and remains one of the AIF’s most well-known actions. 



Address:Passage & Middle Streets, Redlands RSL Veterans Community Centre, Cleveland, 4163
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -27.526234
Long: 153.279535
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Conflict
Actual Event Start Date:04-August-1914
Actual Event End Date:28-June-1919


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 25th April, 2008
Front Inscription

This Plaque Is Dedicated To The Memory Of The
Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers And Men Of
The Australian Imperial Forces (A.I.F.) For Their
Courage And Sacrifice During The Decisive Battle For
Villers Bretonneux On 25 April 1918.

          Lest We Forget
Que Nous Ne Janais Oublions

Donated By The National Servicemen`s
Association Of Australia (Queensland) Inc.
    Redlands Branch
     25th April 2008.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au