Never Forget Australia: Pompey Elliott and Villers-Bretonneux

09 February 2018

Never Forget Australia: Pompey Elliott and Villers-Bretonneux an evening with award winning historian and biographer, Ross McMullin.

Historian and biographer Ross McMullin will explore the events of the battle of Villers-Bretonneux through the words of Australia’s famous General Pompey Elliott.

The German onslaught in March 1918 led to Britain’s grave First World War crisis. The Australians rushed to the rescue in the climax of the conflict and played a critical role in winning the battle and in doing so influenced the destiny of both the war and Australia’s global reputation for bravery in battle.

The culmination of their vital contribution was the stunning and dramatic counter-attack at Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918, considered by some as the most brilliant achievement of the Great War.

Elliott was an extraordinarily frank and forthright general and the story of Villers-Bretonneux becomes an incredibly personal and intimate one.

Mosman has a connection to this battle as many locals were involved. Nathaniel Dedden from Cardinal Street, a member of the 2nd Tunnelling Company was killed in action at Villers-Bretonneux on 24 April 1918. His death occurred on the day before the town was cleared of enemy troops on the third anniversary of the Anzac landing at Gallipoli.

William Samuel Doyle, 15 Field Ambulance and Edgar Davis Flew, 19th Battalion also lost their lives at Villers-Bretonneux. Other Mosman lads lived to tell their tales including Ian Murray Mackerras, William Fincham and Clyde Dugald McLachlan.

McMullin is a lively and entertaining speaker and it promises to be a night of new revelations on the Great War and its battles.

His other significant works include Farewell, Dear People: Biographies of Australia’s Lost Generation awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian Literature; Will Dyson: Australia’s Radical Genius, The Light on the Hill: The Australian Labor Party 1891-1991, and So Monstrous a Travesty: Chris Watson and The World’s First National Labour Government.

This event is part of Doing Our Bit Mosman 1914 to 1918.

Where: Barry O’Keefe Library

When: 9 April 2018 at 7pm

Cost: Free

Bookings essential: events.mosman.nsw.gov.au.