1st, 2nd and 4th Australian Divisions at the Battle of Pozieres.
Pozieres, a small village in the Somme valley in France, was the scene of bitter and costly fighting for the 1st, 2nd and 4th Australian Divisions in mid 1916.
The village was captured initially by the 1st Division on 23 July 1916. The division clung to its gains despite almost continuous artillery fire and repeated German counter-attacks but suffered heavily. By the time it was relieved on 27 July it had suffered 5,285 casualties.
The 2nd Division took over from the 1st and mounted two further attacks – the first, on 29 July, was a costly failure; the second, on 2 August, resulted in the seizure of further German positions beyond the village. Again, the Australians suffered heavily from retaliatory bombardments. They were relieved on 6 August, having suffered 6,848 casualties.
The 4th Division was next into the line at Pozieres. It too endured a massive artillery bombardment, and defeated a German counter-attack on 7 August; this was the last attempt by the Germans to retake Pozieres.
Three Victoria Crosses were awarded:
Sergeant Claud Castleton, (posthumously) 5th Machine Gun Company, 5th Brigade, 2nd Australian Division.
Private John Leak 9th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Australian Division.
Lieutenant Arthur Blackburn, 10th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Australian Division.