V.C. CORNER AUSTRALIAN CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL, FROMELLES
|Total identified casualties||1176 Find these records|
|Casualties from||First World War|
Fromelles is a village 16 kilometres west of Lille and V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery is 2 kilometres north-west of Fromelles on the road to Sailly.
On the morning of 19 July 1916, after a preliminary bombardment, the 5th Australian and 61st (South Midland) Divisions undertook what is officially known as the Attack at Fromelles. The 61st Division attack failed in the end, with the loss of over 1,500 officers and men out of 3,400 who took part in it. The Australian left and centre reached the German trenches and held their second line during the day and night, but the right was held off by a fierce machine-gun barrage and only reached the front line in isolated groups. The action was broken off on the morning of 20 July, after the 5th Australian Division had lost over 5,500 officers and men. It was the first serious engagement of the Australian forces in France, and the only one to achieve no success. V.C. Corner Cemetery was made after the Armistice. It contains the graves of 410 Australian soldiers who died in the Attack at Fromelles and whose bodies were found on the battlefield, but not a single body could be identified. It was therefore decided not to mark the individual graves, but to record on a memorial the names of all the Australian soldiers who were killed in the engagement and whose graves were not known. The memorial, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, was built to commemorate nearly 1,300 Australian casualties, however since then many have subsequently had graves identified for them (in particular as a result of the excavation of the Pheasant Wood mass grave site in 2009), so today, it is the point of commemoration for 1,100 Australian casualties.