The 'Cobbers' statue is in The Australian Memorial Park on the edge of the village of Fromelles, Nord Department. It commemorates the Australian troops who fought and died in The Battle of Fromelles, 19-20 July 1916. This was the first attack made by Australian forces in France during WW1.
The statue represents Sgt. [later 2nd Lt] Simon Frazer carrying a wounded comrade of 60th Battalion A.I.F. a unit which had suffered very heavy casualties in the Fromelles engagement. Frazer and his company went out onto the battlefield for 3 days and nights to bring in the wounded. He estimated that 250 men were recovered by his company alone.
Legend has it that Frazer was bringing back a casualty from the battlefield when a voice called out, “Don’t forget me, cobber”. Frazer went out again and recovered the wounded man.
Frazer was promoted to 2nd Lt whilst at the A.I.F. base at Tidworth, Wiltshire on 30th March 1917. On 1st May he returned to France to join 58th Battalion, to be killed on 11th May in the Bullecourt offensive. He was buried in a shell hole with a small cross recording his name, rank and number but the grave was not identified by burial parties after the war. His name is recorded as one of the missing on the memorial panels at the Australian National Memorial at Villers Bretonneux.
Also on the edge of the village of Fromelles is the first Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery to be created, in 2009, for fifty years.
The casualties of the Australian and British in the Fromelles attack were very high, with 1780 Australian and 503 British killed, from a casualty rate of 5500 and 1500 killed, wounded and missing, respectively.
It was believed by the CWGC that some 400 casualties missing, believed killed, had been buried by the Germans in mass burial pits on the edge of a wood named Pheasant Wood on British Army maps. Excavation requested by the Australian government revealed the burials and individual burials began in the newly designed cemetery, officially dedicated on the 19th July 2010, the 94th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles.