The “Cobbers” memorial at Fromelles, Flemish France.
This sculpture by Australian artist, Peter Corlett, depicts the efforts of Sgt. Simon Fraser of the 57th Battalion. Fraser, a 40 year old farmer, was one of many who risked their lives rescuing the wounded from “no man’s land” in the aftermath of the battle of Fromelles.
As a Lieutenant, Fraser was later killed at the Battle of Bullecourt on May 12th, 1917.
The farm fields of northern France were the stage for the AIF’s first great battle of the Western Front on 19-20 July, 1916. The reason for the assault was to keep German Divisions in place instead of them being shifted to the Somme where a great battle had been in progress since July 1st. The Battle of Fromelles, brainchild of a British General, was a terrible mistake and involved the British 61st Division and Australia’s 5th Division. (A Division consists of three Brigades each of 4 Battalions – about 10,000 soldiers.) The Australians suffered 5533 casualties in 27 hours of incessant fighting……..1917 killed in action or died of wounds, 3146 wounded, and 470 POW’s
VC Corner Australian Cemetery – 410 unnamed soldiers lie here and the wall behind bears the names of all 1299 australians who fell at the Battle of Fromelle and have no known grave.