It was saddening and poignant to read the record, in Canowindra Phoenix issue 401 last Thursday, of those who served on that terrible battlefield in France that is known as Fromelles.
The Battle of Fromelles celebrated it’s 100th anniversary recently, and the battle was one of the bloodiest of the first World War, and was Australia’s first involvement on the Western Front. More than 5,500 Australian troops were killed during the 14-hour battle. The insane decisions made by senior military leaders out of their depth and time in, then, modern warfare, brought
about the mass killing of many brave soldiers.
The loss to Australia of the brightest and bravest citizens, who were at that place, is something that pulled us back from an unknowable future, where these men might have done equally great and better things in their homeland, if there had not been this stupid rush to arms. I did inform the Canowindra Historical Society of my grandmother’s brother, Joseph Coghlan,
son of John and Annie of Woodstock Road, who served with the 35th Battalion on that first day and was fortunate enough to be one of the less than 10% of the group who survived. He was sent back to England and ultimately Australia for medical discharge, where he returned to Canowindra and lived until 1922. I don’t know if his war injuries hastened that death.
Whatever the case, he along with all who served, most never returning, should be forever remembered.
Perth, Western Australia