By Paul Cobb
At Fromelles in July 1916 two divisions - one British and one Australian - within a few weeks of arriving in France - went into action for the first time. Their task was to prevent the Germans from moving troops to the Somme where a major British offensive was in progress, but the attack on 19/20 July was a disaster with nearly 7,000 casualties in a few hours.
This account explores this battle which for many epitomises the futility of the Great War.
In those few hours many heroic deeds were done but the battle caused a souring of Anglo-Australian relationships and truly was a baptism of fire for these British and Australian troops. This is their history. In a new section, Paul Cobb explores the recent discovery in 2008/09 of a mass war grave on the battlefield and includes details of the findings of the archaeological dig, the recovery of 250 bodies and the creation of a new military cemetery.