1918 – 2018
In 2018 we will commemorate “100 years of mateship”, a unique bond forged in blood and shared sacrifice that endures through mutual respect and shared values.
Mateship forged in battle
Australian General, Sir John Monash, was the first non-American to command U.S. soldiers in an offensive action – at the Battle of Hamel on the Western front in France in 1918. It was also the American troops’ first offensive action of the First World War. Four American companies were under Monash’s command, which proved to be a turning point in the Battle of Somme.
In honour of the Americans he was leading, Monash chose 4 July 1918 for the assault on the strategically important town. His precise battle plan was radical for its time – it marked the first time tanks had been used on a battlefield to bring supplies rapidly behind the advancing infantry and the first time aircraft had been deployed to drop ammunition to ground troops. The plan was described as a brilliant success. In only 93 minutes, just three minutes longer than Monash’s plan, all objectives were achieved. The town of Hamel was captured by the Allies.
Fourteen Americans were decorated by the British as a result of the battle, Among them was Chicago born Corporal Thomas Pope – who also received the Medal of Honor, When Monash passed away in 1989, Pope was the last surviving US Army Medal of Honor recipient from WW1. Sir John Monash is considered one of the best Allied Generals of the First World War and is Australia’s most famous military commander.
Hamel is only the beginning of a century-long story, Throughout the 20th century, servicemen and women from Australia and the United States have served side by side, as friends and allies, in every major conflict. from WW1 to Iraq. The fine tradition forged in the mud of the Somme continues into a new century, as Australians and Americans continue to fight for freedom in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
100 years of mateship
Australia and the United States have fought side by side in every major conflict since 1918.
1914 – 18 First World War
1939 – 45 Second World War
1950 – 53 Korean War
1947 – 91 Cold War
1962 – 75 Vietnam War
1990 – 91 Gulf War 1
1992 – 95 Somalia
2001 – War on Terror
2003 – 11 Gulf War II
2001 – Afghanistan
2014 – Counter-ISIL in Iraq
Mateship Personified: The “Bull” Allen Story
No one embodies the spirit of mateship between Australia and the United States more than Australian Army Corporal Leslie “Bull” Allen. This image symbolises an enduring friendship between Australian and American servicemen and women.
During the Second World War, on 30 July 1943 at Mount Tambu, New Guinea, Corporal Allen safely rescued twelve United States soldiers from the front line. For his bravery he was awarded the Silver Star by the United States.
This image has become one of Australia’s iconic war-time images. The photograph captures Allen’s actions on the day, carrying to safety an American soldier who had been knocked unconscious by a mortar bomb.