Tassie’s Own 40th Battalion

Initially the 40th Battalion was to be a combined unit from Tasmania and the Geelong district.  Representations were made asking for it to be a Tasmanian unit. It would be our contribution to the 3rd Division, which was formed in Australia in early 1916.

Lieutenant Colonel John E. C. Lord, a 44 year old Civil Servant from Sandy Bay. He was appointed to command the Battalion and would remain with the Battalion until January 1919.

Second in command was Major J. P. Clark from Scottsdale with Captain J. Gard from Launceston as Adjutant.

Four companies were also formed – A Company under Captain J. D. W. Chisholm Hobart, B Company under Major L. H. Payne, Burnie, C Company under Captain J. T. Tyrrell. Wynyard and D Company under Captain L. F. Giblin, Hobart.

As part of Headquarters were the Pioneers, Signallers, Machine Gun Section, Transport, Army Medical Corps, Stretcher Bearers and Batmen.

The Battalion also had its own band, pictured here with Lt Colonel J. E. C. Lord.

The 40th Battalion (pictured above with Lt. Colonel John Lord in front) was the last unit of the 3rd Division to reach England, and in consequence was not so far advanced in training as the other battalions, some of whom had already been in England for several weeks.

From 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. the men trained hard in musketry, Lewis gun work, bombing, drill, and route-marching. Some went off to specialist schools in the hope that what they learnt there, could then be taught to the troops.

A further 8 groups of reinforcements would depart Australia during 1916 & 1917 to take the place of those killed or wounded in action or who died of disease. Many of the latter can be seen in the images on display.

Those enlisting in 1918 while not actual reinforcements for the Battalion joined the unit after reaching England.

Battle Honours:


7 June 1917







Polygon Wood

26 September 1917

Amiens, Albert

8 August 1916


4 October 1917

Mont St Quentin

1 September 1918



Hindenburg Line

29-30 September 1918


12 October 1917

St Quentin Canal



Total battle casualties 2, 165 including prisoners of war and those who died of disease.


2 Victoria Cross Winners – McGee & Statton 1 CMG
3 Distinguished Service Order 22 Military Cross
10 Distinguished Conduct Medal 81 Military Medal, 1 bar
9 Military Service Medals 26 Mention in Despatches
7 Foreign Awards

‘The fact that is was composed wholly of the men of a small island state, gave it a special stimulus to the highest emulation of all other units. In no other unit was the pride of origin and sense of responsibility to the people it represented stronger than in the 40th  
Lieutenant General Sir John Monash