Australian soldiers in trenches at the Battle of Polygon Wood, 1917 The Battle of Polygon Wood took place during the second phase of the Third battle of Ypres in World War I and was fought near Ypres in Belgium 26 September – 3 October 1917, in the area from the Menin Road to Polygon Wood and thence north, to the area beyond St. Julien. Much of the woodland had been destroyed by the huge quantity of shellfire from both sides since 16 July and the area had changed hands several times. General Herbert Plumer continued the series of British general attacks with limited objectives. The British attacks were led by lines of skirmishers, followed by small infantry columns organised in depth, (a formation which had been adopted by the Fifth Army in August) with a vastly increased amount of artillery support, the infantry advancing behind five layers of creeping bombardment on the Second Army front.
Two unidentified Australian Lewis Machine Gunners of the 1st Battalion in a place of vantage formed by a shell splintered tree on the Ramparts at Ypres. During the Third Battle of Ypres, the aerial activity was almost continuous, day and night, and the rattle of machine guns for aerial defence was practically incessant. The gunner on the left has a magazine ready, once the other one on the gun is empty.
Corporal Ernest Lionel Bailey, 51st Battalion and later Australian Corps
Salvage AIF, tagging battlefield trophies for the Australian War Museum
at the Hoograaf Collecting Depot. The battlefield relics were gathered
during the Australian advances in the Third Battle of Ypres and almost
every item bears a signficance to some historic event in which
Australian troops figure. Corporal Bailey was accidentally killed on 17
May 1918 at Ailly sur Somme while handling similar material. Note the
German stick grenade, rifle with bayonet and the machine gun that he is