The attack through Polygon Wood on the 26th September 1917 was an intense artillery barrage. The Australians rose from their start line, simple tapes laid along the ground and followed the crashing barrage, dashing forward into the fog and dust. By this time in the war, the gunners were very proficient in laying down a protective line of shells, as Charles Bean said, rolled ahead of the troops “like a Gippsland bushfire” so intense was its accuracy and the wall of flame that rose up.
On the right flank, the Australians were held up by the British not taking pillboxes whose fire was enfilading the Australian battalions until Private Patrick Bugden, silenced these guns. He was killed in fighting soon after, but was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions. By 6.45am, the Australians had taken their first objective, the high mound of the pre-war rifle range butts and it is here today that the 5th Division Memorial stares down along the line of the Australian advance through the once shattered wood.