Today marks the centenary of the start of the Somme offensive in France in World War 1 on 1st July 1916. The Australians attacked on 23rd July. In seven weeks of intense fighting the three Australian divisions involved in the battle suffered 23,000 casualties and of these 6,800 men were killed in action. Five Victoria Crosses were awarded during this offensive.
Private John Leak – 23 July 1916, Pozieres, France
Lieutenant Arthur Seaforth Blackburn – 23 July 1916, Pozieres, France
*Private Thomas Cooke – 24-25 July 1916, Pozieres, France
*Sergeant Claud Charles Castleton – 28 July 1916, Pozieres, France
Private Martin O’Meara – 9-12 August 1916, Pozieres, France
* denotes posthumously awarded.