THE number of volunteers into Australia’s fledgling expeditionary force between 1915 and 1918, almost equalled the whole population of Melbourne.
Speaking at last week’s Remembrance Day, guest speaker Graham Godber, Mansfield RSL historian, said Melbourne’s population at the time was 560,000.
Australia’s contribution to World War I over four years totalled 417,000 of which 62,000 were lost and still lay in foreign soil.
“A further 160,000 were wounded, many to return home to die early deaths, or endure the effects of their wounds for the rest of their lives,” Mr Godber said.
By mid-1918 volunteers had formed into a complete Australian Army Corps of five divisions under Australian commanders, the overall commander of whom was to be knighted in the field by King Edward for his brilliant generalship.
Battles from Gallipoli and throughout Europe (mainly France) claimed the lives of fathers, husbands, sons or brothers.