British and French troops launch a new offensive on the Western Front, attacking along a 24km front in Flanders, Belgium, taking 12 villages and capturing 5,000 prisoners. The attack begins more than three months of brutal fighting, known as the Third Battle of Ypres or the Battle of Passchendaele. Fighting would continue until 10 November, when Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium, Sir Douglas Haig called off the offensive, claiming victory, despite some 310,000 British casualties, as opposed to 260,000 on the German side. The major actions involving Australians were at Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcappelle, and Passchendaele.
German and Austro-Hungarian forces on the Eastern Front continue their advance in Galician front, crossing the west bank of the Zbrucz River
We had a pretty fierce go about a fortnight ago… Some of my best mates were killed, and I helped to bury them. It is very trying, I can assure you, when we have to go and bury our fallen mates after it is all over. I think that is the worst part of war. We don’t notice the fighting while we are at it. We go for it for all we are worth; but, while we are burying them, the sad part comes in.
The Orange War Chest donates £32/9/7 to the France’s Day fund in Orange and sends off 628 pairs of socks, five mufflers, two balaclavas and four pairs of mittens for distribution to soldiers. Orange War Chest
The Leader reports that 18-year-old-barber, Roy Walter Ernest Byrnes “has discarded the scissors and razor for the rifle” and enlisted. Personal
A recruitment drive is held across the state to secure volunteers for the Sportsmen’s Reinforcements Unit. The Leader induces the young men of Orange to enlist. Not only do volunteers get the chance to see the world, Australian soldiers are the best paid in the Empire and in two years can save £180. The Original Anzacs
The Leader reports that John William Stabback has been awarded the Military Medal conspicuous gallantry in the field
The Millthorpe branch of the Red Cross sends a consignment of goods to Sydney for soldiers serving overseas. The shipment includes flannelette shirts, socks, gloves and eye bandages. Red Cross League
Captain Robert Alexander Little, an Australian serving in the Royal Naval Air Service, shoots down his fifteenth enemy aircraft over France. By the end of the war Little would be credited with a tally of 47 aerial victories, making him the most successful Australian ace of WWI.
French troops on the Western Front repel a German counter-attack north of the Aisne
The Russian retreat in East Galicia continues; with more towns evacuated, and positions in the Carpathians abandoned
Allied representatives assemble in Paris to discuss the Balkan situation. Military, naval and political committees discuss plans in view of the probable collapse of Russia,
A French military court convicts Dutch-born dancer and courtesan Margaretha Zelle (better known by her stage name, Mata Hari) of spying for Germany. She is subsequently sentenced to execution by firing squad. Mata Hari Sentenced To Die
Arthur William Snook’s family observes the anniversary of his death in action in the Battle of Pozieres
Leslie Edward Pearce Dartnell, son of the Orange postman, describes his recent trip to Paris as “one of the best holidays I have ever had”. He concludes his letter with a description of the Australian camp near Le Havre:
It is a beautiful picture I look upon from out the office door… The Divisional Band is playing to a crowd of our boys, who are lolling about on the green grass. Then to the right a little way another group are playing cricket. Further away are the white tents showing up against the green grass, and then in the back-ground are the green fields and lovely foliaged trees on the hillside. No one could imagine a more beautiful and peaceful scene. War is certainly not in the air. I suppose my time is drawing very close now, and I will soon be up to the line.. I think the division is moving up Armentieres way again. I hope so, anyway, for the Somme is an awful graveyard of a place.
William Henry Bowers, a former printer with the Advocatewrites home to say:
I was in a “scrap” with the Germans on May 15th on the famous Hindenburg line, and I was just enjoying the fun when I stopped one on the right hip, the bullet finding an outlet in the fleshy part of the stomach, just missing the vital parts. Another inch and I would have been “gone.”
Russian troops on the Eastern Front continue their retreat in Galicia
Gotha IV bomber in flight. Image in public domain.
Four members of the Australian Army Nursing Service, Sisters Dorothy Cawood, Clara Deacon and Alice Ross-King and Staff Nurse Mary Jane Derrer rescue patients trapped in a burning Casualty Clearing Station at Trois Arbes in Franc. They are awarded Military Medals “for acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire“. These are the first bravery awards won by Australian nurses; a total of eight Military Medals were awarded to nurses during WWI.
German Gotha bombers conduct a raid on the east coast of England over Felixstowe and Harwich. Thirteen people are killed and 26 injured
Russian troops on the Eastern Front penetrate German defences near Vilna, taking 1,000 prisoners