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In March 1918, the Germans launched a great Spring Offensive, pushing the British right back across the old 1916 battlefields, in the last hope of victory before the arrival of the American forces. The Australian Corps was rushed to the sector to relieve exhausted British units and help defend the greatly weakened lines immediately west of Albert.
At Dernancourt

Act of Bravery

The Australians took up positions along the embankment, just behind the cemetery, on 27th March. The next morning, in the half light of dawn, the Germans launched their attack. One Australian, Stanley McDougall of the 47th Battalion, heard the sound of their bayonet scabbards flapping on their thighs. He therefore ran along the railway track to warn his platoon and later seized a Lewis machine gun and rushed forward, opening fire upon the Germans as he went. When the casing of the Lewis gun barrel became so hot that he had burnt his hand, Sergeant JC Lawrence stepped in to help, holding the gun while McDougall continued to fire with his good hand. Sergeant McDougall’s prompt action had undoubtedly saved the position on that part of the railway, and for his cool display of courage and initiative he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Franco-Australian Friendship

Dernancourt has retained a close bond of friendship with the Australians ever since the war as the street name ‘Rue d’Australie’ and the school hall, named ‘Pavillon Adelaide’, show. After the war many regions of war-torn France were ‘adopted’ by places in the United Kingdom and other Allied countries. The local people, who had become refugees, were given assistance to re–establish their lives and homes. Dernancourt was treated in asimilar way by the people of South Australia.

Walking Trail

A new walking trail with markers at key locations, and supported by audio-guides, tells the story of Australia’s involvement here in 1918.  Sites of significance encompassed by the trail include: the Pavillon Adelaide, the railway embankment, the Support Line trench between the railway and the Amiens road, a position known as ‘the Quarry’, and the old Communal Cemetery. The audio-guides are available for free download to Android and Apple devices as part of the Australians in the Somme 16&18 app.
Download: Australians in the Somme 16&18 app for Android
Download: Australians in the Somme 16&18 app for Apple


Memory place type: 
Aside bloc: 
visuel Dernancourt
Location Lat/Long: 
POINT (2.625021 49.976477)