Panoramic photograph of members of Australian servicemen of the 7/37 (7th Reinforcements, 37th) Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. The battalion was torpedoed on 25 April 1917, and received praise for its actions under fire.
The photograph is inscribed 'Reinfs 7/37 Batt. A. I. F. torpedoed on H. M. A. T. Ballarat on Anzac Day, 25th. April 1917. These troops when torpedoed upheld the best traditions of the race and their conduct was beyond praise. They were the recipients of the warmest praise from his Majesty the King; General Birdwood, K. C. S. I., K. C. M. G., C. B. C. I. E. D. S. O, and the Commonwealth High Commissioner, the Hon. Andrew Fisher'. Photographer, 'British and Colonial Photo co. 34- 36 Castle St., Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, no. 116.'
Amongst those pictured may be brothers Leslie William Ward (service no. 3154) and Frederick John Ward (service no. 3190), both 7/37 Batt. Leslie was killed in action at Passchendaele on 4 October 1917; Frederick died of wounds near Amiens, France on 13 June 1918.
The 37th Battalion was raised in Seymour in early 1916, part of the 10th Brigade of the 3rd Australian Division. The Battalion was sent to the trenches of France in late November 1916 and endured the terrible winter of 1916-1917. It went on to fight at Messines, in Belgium, in June 1917, then the battles of Broodseinde and Passchendaele in October. In March 1918 it fought against the German Army's Spring Offensive, and took an active role during August and early September in the 3rd Division's advance along the Somme Valley. On 23 September the battalion fought its last battle, 'St Quentin Canal', and on 12 October 1918 the depleted 37th Battalion was disbanded and its members absorbed into other units.
'37th Australian Infantry Battalion', Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/unit/U51477/, accessed 28 Aug 2015
Studio portrait of 3154 Private (Pte) Leslie William Ward, H06253, Australian War Memorial https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/H06253/, accessed 28 Aug 2015