12th Battalion

The 12th BN was born at Pontville, Tasmania on Aug 15th, 1914. Its first 4 Companies were from Tasmania proper with Co. A from Hobart and the south of the Island, Co. B from Launceston and N.E. Coast, Co. C from N.W. Coast, and Co. D from the West Coast. Within a month two Companies (Co. E and F) of South Australian Port Pirie Miners joined the growing Battalion.

The Men learned the basics of soldiering at Pontville. The Drilled and then Drilled some more. They learned how to shoot (though the 12th had a very high number of excellent shooters), march, and try to fit into a military organization.

A Basic field kit at the time consisted of: Water Proof Sheet, Forage Cap, Singlet, shirt, socks, under pants, trousers, tunic, jersey, boots, laces, puttees, braces, hat, chin strap, towel, soap, housewife (sewing kit), brush, comb, tooth brush, holdall, cap comforter, shaving brush, razor, knife, fork, spoon, dungarees, white hat, sea kit bag, and then personal items. LT. Newton said "I don't think a force was ever equipped so thoroughly and efficiently as the first A.I.F."

Mid 1916 to 1917
12th Battalion Marching Through Hobart (Tasmania) Oct 4th 1914

On Oct 20th the battalion started to board the troop ships "Geelong" and "Katuna" to a military band playing "Rule Britannia" and "The Girl I left Behind Me". Soon the two ships had joined 26 other Australian troop transports, 10 NZ troop ships, and a few escort warships such as the battleships "Melbourne", "Hampshire", and "Sydney". An Interesting note is that the convoy also had Japanese Warships in its number of Escorts.

The Men of the battalion were mostly sick on the first days from a combination of ruff sea's and all the spreading of disease with the men in such cramped quarters. They hated how cramped the troop transports were and the fact that the only cool place on the ships were on the deck at night. On Nov 9th they watched the warship "Sydney" steam out to fight the German Warship "Emden" that had been spotted nearby (The Sydney did sink the Emden). On Dec 9th, the 12th Bn unloaded at Alexandria to begin its odyssey in Egypt and the middle east..

On December 10th 1914, Co. G and Co. H from Perth, Western Australia, joined the 12th to bring it up to full strength.

Troopship "Geelong" leaving Ocean Pier, Hobart, Oct 20th 1914