Honouring those who took part in Australia’s debut on the Western Front in WWI, this unique, one-year-only Australian legal tender type has been issued to mark the centenary of the Battle of Fromelles.
A ferocious encounter in northern France over the 18th and 19th of July, 1916, the operation at Fromelles was designed as a feint to discourage the Germans from moving troops to the Battle of the Somme. Following hours of artillery bombardment, the Allied troops charged towards the high ground held by the enemy. With ‘the air thick with bullets, swishing in a flat criss-crossed lattice of death’, hundreds of Australians were scythed down in the blink of an eye. Dubbed by the Australian War Memorial ‘the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history’, the Australian forces suffered a staggering 5,533 casualties in the encounter.