Sands of Gallipoli

Great War 1916 -2016
Commemorative Medallions

The Australian Imperial Force arrived on the Western Front in March 1916. In July our Gallipoli veterans and new troops alike fought at the battles of Fromelles (19-20 Jul.) and Pozieres ( 23 Jul.-7 Aug.). At Pozieres alone Australian losses—around 6,800 men—were comparable to the entire Gallipoli campaign.

In 1916 some 40,000 Australians were killed or wounded on The Western Front in France and Belgium. By war’s end in Nov. 1918 approximately 132,000 had been wounded and 46,000 had lost their lives.

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Sands of Gallipoli Great War 1916 -2016
Commemorative Medallion Set

This superb 1916 commemorative centenary set of six proof quality silver finish medallions reflects Australia’s War in 1916 – on the seas, in the deserts and on the Western Front.
While Australia’s navy protected the oceans in both hemispheres and supported the blockade of Germany, the Australian Flying Corps’ first complete flying unit, No. 1 Squadron, left Australia for the Middle East. Soldiers of the A.I.F. joined the fight in Europe and in the Sinai Desert. During the battles of Fromelles and Pozieres on the Western Front Australia suffered losses far greater than at Gallipoli, and in the desert at Romani the Australian Light Horse played a decisive part in the battle that finally put a stop to the Turkish threat to the Suez Canal and marked the beginning of the British forces’ push out of Egypt and into Palestine.
Sets include a numbered certificate of authenticity and a vial of sand collected from the landing beaches at Gallipoli. Timber display case folds into a stunning desk unit or can be wall mounted. Limited to 2,500 sets.

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Sands of Gallipoli Individual Boxed Great War Medallions

Each medallion from the set is available individually. Presented in attractive leatherette boxes, each includes a certificate of authenticity and Sands of Gallipoli presentation. Only 1,000 of each individual medallion will be released.

To The Western Front Limited Edition Medallion


After Gallipoli the Australian Imperial Force regrouped in Egypt and underwent a huge expansion and reorganisation. The infantry divisions and the bulk of the support elements of the A.I.F. were ordered to France and the fight on the Western Front. The mounted divisions remained in Egypt. Australia's forces and the New Zealand Division were formed into the I and II ANZAC Corps and in March 1916 the new corps began leaving for the France. The 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Australian Divisions moved into the front-line trenches near Armentieres, in an area of light fighting dubbed "the nursery" but in July Australia's forces experienced the hardest of fighting at Fromelles and Pozieres. The first year on the Western Front was costly for the A.I.F., with some 40,000 casualties recorded. By the end of 1916 about 124,000 new men had enlist in the A.I.F..

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Battle of Fromelles Limited Edition Medallion


On 19 and 20 July 1916 the 5th Australian Division of the A.I.F. fought the Battle of Fromelles. The untested Australians had newly arrived on the Western Front and were ordered to attack strongly fortified German front line positions near the Aubers Ridge in French Flanders. Fighting alongside the British 61st Division, the attack was intended as a feint to keep German reserves from moving south to the reinforce the Somme. Fromelles was a disastrous failure. Our forces assaulted over open ground in broad daylight and under direct observation and heavy fire from the German lines. More than 5,500 Australians became casualties; almost 2,000 were killed in action or died of wounds and some 400 were captured. This is believed to be the greatest loss by a single division in 24 hours during the entire First World War.

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Battle of Pozieres Limited Edition Medallion


Pozieres, a small village in the Somme valley in France, was the scene of bitter and costly fighting for the 1st, 2nd and 4th Australian Divisions of the A.I.F. On 23 July 1916 the village was captured by the 1st Division and despite almost continuous artillery bombardments and repeated German counter-attacks, the 1st clung to its gains. By the time it was relieved by 2nd Division on 27 July it had suffered 5,285 casualties. The 2nd Division mounted two further attacks to capture the heights beyond the village. The first assault on 29 July was a costly failure. On 2 August it finally took the new ground but endured heavy retaliatory bombardments until being relived by the 4th Division on 6 August. The 2nd suffered 6,848 casualties. The 4th steadfastly held the position. On 7 August the Germans launched a final attack to retake Pozieres but were soundly beaten. The 4th suffered almost 1,500 casualties.

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Battle of Romani Limited Edition Medallion


The battle of Romani took place between 3 and 5 August 1916 some 35 kilometres east of the vital Suez Canal, amidst the towering sand dunes of the Sinai Desert.
Turkish forces attacked the British position at Wellington Ridge in the small hours of 4 August. Only Australia's 1st Light Horse was in position to meet the attack and although pushed back, they held the advance until reinforcements from the 2nd Light Horse joined the fight. During the day fresh troops from the 3rd Light Horse and the New Zealand and 5th Mounted Brigades joined the fight. The successful defence of Romani was a turning point in the war in the Sinai. It ended the Turkish threat to the Suez Canal and marked the beginning of the British forces' drive out of Egypt and into Palestine. Of around 1,100 'British' casualties most were from the ANZAC mounted divisions.

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Australian Flying Corps Limited Edition Medallion


Australia was the only dominion of the British Empire to establish its own flying corps for service in the Great War. Pilots trained at the Central Flying School at Point Cook in Victoria which started in early 1914 with just two flying instructors and five flimsy training aircraft. By March 1916 the A.F.C.'s first complete flying unit, No. 1 Squadron, left Australia for the Middle East and by June was flying missions with the British Royal Flying Corps over the Sinai desert in search of Turkish forces, and across Egypt's western desert to monitor activity by the rebellious Senussi. The squadron was renamed 67 (Australian) Squadron, Royal Flying Corps and while its initial role was aerial reconnaissance, its aircraft and crew were also involved in attacks against Turkish ground forces.

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Royal Australian Navy Limited Edition Medallion


The Royal Australian Navy played a vital role throughout the Great War of 1914-1918. At the outset of war command of Australia's fleet was handed to the British Admiralty and the young R.A.N.'s ships and crew spread across the globe. In 1916 much of the role was taken with the routine of patrols to keep sea lanes safe and in supporting the Royal Navy blockades of the German High Seas Fleet and German East African operations. In the North Sea the heavy cruiser H.M.A.S. Australia, flagship of the 2nd Battle Cruiser Squadron of the British Grand Fleet, was destined to fight in the Battle of Jutland of May 1916 but was denied her opportunity when she was rammed by H.M.S. New Zealand on 22 April and forced to undergo repairs. On land the R.A.N. Bridging Train, which had courageously maintained the landing facilities at Gallipoli, continued to serve in the Middle East.

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