14th Nov 1917: I Anzac Corps goes into winter positions at Messines

The British Army in Flanders went into its winter positions and for I Anzac Corps, relieved from their front line positions, they proceeded to the quiet front at Messines. The Ypres fighting from September to November 1917 had cost the Australians 38,093 officers and men, and with the dwindling stream of reinforcements from Australia, anxieties were growing whether they would be able to reinforce sufficiently. For General Birdwood the focus was now turning to the winter and how to keep the troops well and avoid the illnesses and trench foot that had caused many casualties the previous winter on the Somme. Sports and entertainment were given high priority.

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