Below is a ‘Did You Know’ list presented in the order the information has been sourced.

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Please note: We default to the Australian War Memorial as the national authority on facts relating to Australia’s military history.


 

In WWI Australia also had the dubious distinction of suffering the highest proportional losses of any of the national forces within the British Empire at 19 per cent losses of the forces committed and 65 per cent of those embarked. The casualties were still being counted during the 1930s. By then, another 60,000 had died from wounds or illnesses caused by the war.
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The 1933 national census revealed 21,500 fewer men aged 35-39 years—who had been 12-20 in 1914-1919—than in the 30-34 year old cohort. The gender balance of Australian society changed too. Whereas in 1911 there were 109 men for every 100 women between 25 and 44 years of age, in 1933 there were 98 men for every 100 women between 35 and 39.
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Australia's estimated total costs for WWI was between £350 million and £377 million, of which 70 per cent was borrowed and the rest came from taxes. This equates to a figure in the order of £170 billion in modern values, although this unsurprisingly seems small compared to Britain’s estimated war costs of £3,251 billion
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As part of the attempts to disguise the evacuation plans from the Turkish forces, the ‘drip-rifle’ was designed to maintain fire from the trenches after the withdrawal of the last men.
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By 4am on 20 December 1915 only a handful of men were left at North Beach, among them was the commander of the ‘Rear Party’, Colonel J Paton. At 4.10am Paton, having waited ten minutes for any last Anzac straggler, declared the evacuation complete and left.
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The secrecy surrounding the evacuation was such that many of the troops on Gallipoli were unaware of the plans until the last minute.
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The main evacuation points in December 1915 were the piers at North Beach. Many men spent their last moments at Gallipoli on North Beach catching a last glimpse in the dark of the Sari Bair Range as they sailed away from the piers.
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Australian Lieutenant Colonel Cyril Brudenell White successfully devised a three phase plan that ensured the evacuation of all troops from Gallipoli occurred without any suspicion on the part of the Turkish forces.
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Despite the strategic failure of the Gallipoli campaign, the evacuation of over 41,000 soldiers was considered a significant tactical success.
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The SANFL competition continued in the first two years of WWI (1914 and 1915) but by 1916, football was suspended due to high losses of players to the war effort. The competition did not resume until 1919.
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The Parliament passed Australia’s first Defence Act in 1903.
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By the end of World War I, 270 men had served in the Commonwealth Parliament. Of these, 23 saw active service in World War I, nine of whom were members of parliament at the time of their military service.
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Prior to Federation in 1901, each Australian colony had been responsible for its own defence arrangements.
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The Commonwealth Parliament of Australia was just 13 years old when World War I broke out on 28 July 1914.
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The beach at Anzac cove is 600 metres (2,000 feet) long.
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During the First World War, the Australian Army's enlistment age was 21 years or 18 years with the permission of a parent or guardian. Although boys aged 14-17 could enlist as buglers, trumpeters and musicians, many gave false ages in order to join as soldiers. Their numbers are impossible to determine.
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South Australians participated in over 100 battles during the Great War
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On 7 August 1915, fighting as infantry, the 10th and 8th Light Horse Regiments attacked the Turkish forces at the Nek, Gallipoli. Three waves went forward, and altogether 375 of the 600 men became casualties, a figure which included 234 dead.
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On 6 August, 1915, Australians suffered more than 2,200 casualties at Lone Pine and the Turks over 5,000. Seven Australians were awarded the Victoria Cross.
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The Colours are the Battalion’s proudest possessions.
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Battalion colours provide a constant reminder to the Battalion of its undying responsibility to be worthy of its glorious traditions and its past service to Sovereign and Country
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The Colours are consecrated emblems and are entitled to the highest military honours.
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From 1916 until 1919, the South Australia Red Cross Information Bureau researched 8,033 enquiries from family and friends of missing Australian Imperial Force (AIF) personnel who fought in WWI.
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The first Violet Day was held on 2 July 1915.
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A major organisation devoted to support the war was the Cheer-up Society which provided the Cheer-up Hut, a home-away-from-home to farewell recruits and welcome returned soldiers who were convalescing.
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The Eastern Shah Wali Kot Battle Honour awarded on the 26 March 2013 was the first Army Battle Honour since the end of the Vietnam War.
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Before the poppy became the recognised flower for war memorials, in South Australia the violet was the ‘symbol of perpetual remembrance’.
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The 11th Light Horse Regiment included men from SA and QLD, they foughts at Suez Canal (20 July 1916), Gaza (19 April 1917), Sheria (7 November 1917), Semakh (25 September 1918).
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The 48th Battalion included men from SA (and WA) who fought at Pozières (5-7 August; 12-15 August 1916), Bullecourt (11 April 1917), Amiens (8 August 1918), Hindenburg Line (18-20 September 1918).
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The 16th Battalion included men from SA and WA, they fought at Assault on Hill 971 (7 August 1915), Pozières (July-August 1916), Bullecourt (11 April 1917), Hamel (4 July 1918); Amiens (8 August 1918).
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The 43rd Battalion raised in South Australia fought at St Quentin Canal (29 September – 2 October 1918)
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The 43rd Battalion raised in South Australia fought at Amiens (8 August 1918)
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The 43rd Battalion raised in South Australia fought at Hamel (4 July 1918)
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The 43rd Battalion raised in South Australia fought at Passchendaele (12 October 1917)
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The 43rd Battalion raised in South Australia fought at Broodseinde (4 October 1917)
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The 43rd Battalion raised in South Australia fought at Warneton (31 July 1917)
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The 43rd Battalion raised in South Australia fought at Messines (7 June 1917).
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The 10th Battalion took part in the fighting on the Western Front, including Amiens (8 August 1918)
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The 10th Battalion took part in the fighting on the Western Front, including Merris (June 1918)
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The 10th Battalion took part in the fighting on the Western Front, including Hazebrouck (April 1918)
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The 10th Battalion took part in the fighting on the Western Front, including Celtic Wood (9 October 1917)
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The 10th Battalion took part in the fighting on the Western Front, including Broodseinde (4 October 1917)
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The 10th Battalion took part in the fighting on the Western Front, including Polygon Wood (26 September 1917)
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The 10th Battalion took part in the fighting on the Western Front, including Lagnicourt (15 April 1917)
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The 10th Battalion took part in the fighting on the Western Front, including Pozières (23 July 1916)
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The 10th Battalion was among the first Australian troops to land on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915
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Of the 63 Victoria Crosses awarded to Australian troops during the First World War, four were awarded to South Australians.
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It has been estimated over 5,000 South Australians died on active service during the First World War.
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4,044 Australians were taken prisoner in WWI
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In World War One over 60,000 Australians died on active service. A further 155,133 were wounded in action.
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416,809 Australians enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force of which 331,781 served overseas
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37 per cent of South Australian men aged between 18 and 44 enlisted in the First World War
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8.5 per cent of the South Australian population at the time enlisted in the First World War
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According to the 1911 Commonwealth census, the last official census before the outbreak of the First World War, there were 207,358 people residing in South Australia
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34,959 South Australians enlisted for service in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF)
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The 18th Battery was the only complete field artillery from South Australia to serve in World War One.
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'Gunfire Breakfast' derives from ‘Gun Fire’, a British military term for the first cup of tea given to troops before their first task of the day.
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The Ode of Remembrance has been recited at commemorative services (not necessarily related to Anzac Day) since 1919.
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The Ode of Remembrance was first published in The Times (London) on 21 September 1914.
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‘The Ode’ – as it is commonly known – is taken from a poem written by the English poet Laurence Binyon
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Historically, a catafalque party was appointed to guard the coffin against theft or desecration.
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In 1921, a law was passed in Australia to protect ‘Anzac’ as a word.
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According to folklore, the poppies sprang from the devastation of war in France and Belgium and were red from the blood of fallen soldiers.
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The red poppy was first described as a flower of remembrance by Colonel John McCrae.
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It is traditional to wear a sprig of rosemary on the lapel or breast (the left side is more common) or held in place by medals.
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Rosemary grows wild on the Gallipoli peninsula and has a long-standing association with remembrance.
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The band worn around the slouch hat is called a ‘puggaree’.
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The wide-brimmed khaki hat worn by members of the Australian Army is known as the ‘slouch hat’.
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Three South Australian Aborigines are known to have served in the 50th Battalion.
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The 32nd Battalion was raised in South Australia in August 1915 and two South Australian Aborigines are known to have served in this Battalion.
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The 27th Battalion was raised in South Australia in March 1915 with many of the recruits coming from suburban Adelaide.
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One quarter of the 12th Battalion was recruited in South Australia (largely comprised of Port Pirie miners).
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In total, the 10th Battalion received three Victoria Crosses and was awarded 310 honours and rewards for service in the field.
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The tenth Victoria Cross for the AIF was awarded to Lieutenant Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, which was the first to be awarded to a South Australian.
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The 10th battalion was the first to call the Morphetville camp site its own from where it regularly marched to St Leonards, Glenelg, for bathing purposes.
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The 10th Battalion was the first South Australian regiment in action in the Great War.
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Of the 1,027 original recruits from the 10th Battalion, 615 were born in South Australia.
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The 10th Battalion was amongst the first infantry units raised for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in August 1914.
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The 9th Light Horse Regiment landed at Gallipoli in May 1915 to suffer fifty per cent casualties in an assault (Hill 60) in late August that year.
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Three quarters of the 9th Light Horse Regiment were South Australians.
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The 3rd Light Horse Regiment combined with the 1st and 2nd Regiments to form the 1st Light Horse Brigade.
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The 3rd Light Horse Regiment was raised in Adelaide in August 1914.
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