The Cobbers Memorial Fromelles

Australian Memorial Park Fromelles

GPS: 50.617968, 2.835333

The Australian Memorial Park is dedicated to the memory of the Australian soldiers who fought and died on this spot during the Battle of Fromelles which was fought on 19th to 20th July 1916 and is located on the German defensive line that they attacked. It was opened on 5th July 1998 by the Australian Minister for Veterans' Affairs, the Honourable Bruce Scott, MP. Also in attendance was the Australian Minister for Defence, the Honourable Ian McLachlan, AO, MP.

The central feature of the memorial park is the 'Cobbers' Sculpture which shows one soldier carrying a wounded comrade. The sculpture is by Peter Corlett from Melbourne, Australia and was commissioned by the Office of Australian War Graves. The soldier carrying his comrade is based upon Sergeant, later Second Lieutenant, Simon Frazer of the 57th Battalion and the soldier being carried depicts a soldier from the 60th Battalion, which sustained very heavy casualties during the battle.

Fromelles Cobbers

The 'Cobbers' Memorial.

The dedication on the panel at the foot of the sculpture is a quote taken from Sergeant Simon Fraser written on 31st July 1916: "... for the next three days we did great work getting in the wounded from the front and I must say (the Germans) treated us very fairly ... we must have brought in over 250 men by our company alone."

It is called 'Cobbers' based upon Sergeant Fraser account of the process of bringing in the wounded in the face of the enemy at Fromelles. In the letter he says that he felt that the Germans treated the Australian soldiers who ventured out into the battlefield to retrieve their wounded comrades fairly well although "a few were shot at the work". Simon Fraser described the cries of the wounded and how impossible it was for those who heard them not to respond despite the danger to the rescuers' own lives. One man he heard calling was 14 stone [88 kilos] in weight: "... and I could not lift him on my back; but I managed to get him into an old trench and told him to lie quiet while I got a stretcher. Then another man sang out 'Don't forget me cobber'. I went in and got four volunteers with stretchers and we got both men in safely."

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Last updated: 14th December 2018