21st Sept 1918: AIF largest combat refusal of WW1 by 118 men in 1st Bn

With the Australian 1st Division being withdrawn from the front line following their successful attack three days earlier, orders were received for the 1st Battalion to return to the front to take part in an attack on the Hindenburg Outpost Line and to do what they saw as the ‘unfinished work of III Corps’ on their flank. All but one member of ‘D’ Company refused to take part in an attack as a protest and 118 members of the company that went missing were subsequently Court Martialed and imprisoned for 10 years for desertion. This was the AIF’s largest incidence of ‘combat refusal’ during the war and was a result of the stresses of prolonged periods of combat. All 118 men were pardoned at the end of the war.

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