Welcome to ‘Following the Twenty-Second’, a First World War commemorative project following the Great War through the lives and experiences of the Australian 22nd Infantry Battalion, with a detailed focus on the 154 men of the 5th Reinforcements. Utilising their individual service records, plus the battalion and brigade diaries, red cross files, Commonwealth War Graves records, award citations, personal letters, official histories, and the battalion record ‘With the Twenty-Second’ this is possibly the most complete time referenced record produced for an Australian infantry unit during WWI. Between 2014 and 2019 a picture of how men lived, trained, fought, and died together evolved as events were published as ‘real-time news’, one hundred years on to the day.
Who are these 154 men? They are Victorians, all of whom volunteered and signed up in July 1915 into the 5th Reinforcements of the 22nd Battalion within the 2nd Division of the Australian Imperial Force. Although the 5th/22nd missed Gallipoli, their story is representative of Australian infantrymen on the Western Front. Being a part of one of the first battalions into France, they fought in major engagements throughout the war including on the Somme, Ypres and the last action seen by the AIF in France. By the end of the war one in four of them would not be returning home.
Although focusing on the 22nd Battalion, this project also follows the other Australian battalions and their related divisions, including major battles and events throughout the war. Relatives researching family members that served with the AIF can also learn about the camps where they trained, the hospitals where they were treated, the transport ships in which the men sailed, and the officers in command.
Post centenary this project is not just a record of the events of a 100 years+ ago but acts as an ongoing forum for families to share stories, photographs and other commemorative projects in the Family Section.
In addition to the ‘day+100’ news being published via this website, social media has been used to broadcast ‘live’ these events enabling everyone to ‘follow the 22nd’ via Facebook and Twitter. To follow please click the appropriate link.
The banner photograph used throughout the website, as well as on the project Facebook and Twitter pages, is ‘C’ Company of the 22nd Battalion taken at Franvillers, France on 30th May 1918. The photograph is used with courtesy to the Australian War Memorial.
This project has been preserved for future research and reading long after the 100 year commemorative period has finished within the PANDORA national archive by the National Library of Australia.