Mouquet Farm, near Pozieres, France, 1916
‘Moo Cow Farm’, as the Diggers called it, is right in the middle of the Pozieres – Thiepval Ridge where the German Army had chosen to make its stand and had used the eighteen months in this position to establish phenomenal defenses.
The British Army had suffered unbelievable casualties in early July 1916 assaulting the fortified machine guns and artillery. On July 1st, in only one day, 20,000 soldiers died and 40,000 were wounded.
Three Australian Divisions were brought from Belgium and entered the battle on 23rd July.
The ruins of the farm were a heavily fortified German stronghold. After much fighting around Pozieres, the Australian 4th Division gradually fought their way towards the farm on the 7th August . When the 4th Div. was exhausted the 1st replaced them in the sea of mud. Some gains were made at the cost of 92 officers 2558 men…..virtually destroying the Division. The 2nd. Div. returned and in 4 days fighting lost 1268 men and were again replaced by the 4th Division.
The Australians were used seven times as a battering ram. On this one mile of front the Australian 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions suffered 23,000 casualties between 23rd July and 3rd of September, 1916
Mouquet Farm as it is seen today from the direction of the Australian advance.
Between us and the farm is the depression in the painting.