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Chapter 8 - The conscription campaign of 1916

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2015

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Summary

On 31 July 1916, at a time when the men of the 2nd Division, AIF, were recovering from the effects of the ill-fated attacks of 29 July at Pozières and making ready for the next assaults on the German positions, the troop transport Euripides sailed into Fremantle Harbour. The Euripides was bringing home men who had been severely wounded or incapacitated in earlier engagements, but it also carried the Prime Minister of Australia, William Morris Hughes, his wife and infant daughter, who were returning from a visit to Britain.

Hughes had become Prime Minister in October 1915, after being elected unopposed by the Labor Party caucus to replace Andrew Fisher, who had resigned to become Australian High Commissioner to Britain. Soon after becoming Prime Minister, Hughes proposed that he travel to Britain to learn more about the conduct of the war and Australia’s role in it. The war had disrupted exports, and Hughes wanted to ensure that Australian produce and minerals continued to be sold to Britain. He also wanted to inspect base camps and hospitals in England to see how the military organisation of the AIF was working. Most of all, he wanted to visit Australian troops in France, to see for himself the conditions under which they would be fighting.

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Chapter
Information
Pozières
Echoes of a Distant Battle
, pp. 144 - 167
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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