The AIF Project

Alexander GROVES

Regimental number6563
Place of birthRichmond River, New South Wales
Place of birthSouth Woodburn, New South wales
SchoolPublic School, New South Wales
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationButcher
AddressMurwillumbah, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation24
Height5' 2"
Weight135 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs M.E. Groves, Musgrave Road and Annie Street, Red Hill, Brisbane, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil (previously rejected for military service due to height)
Enlistment date6 November 1916
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name25th Battalion, 19th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/42/6
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A18 Wiltshire on 7 February 1917
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll25th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 July 1918
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Family/military connectionsBrother: 5036 Pte Marcus Samuel George GROVES, 26th Bn, returned to Australia, 15 May 1919.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 7 February 1917; disembarked Plymouth, England, 11 April 1917, and marched into 7th Training Bn, Rollestone, 11 April 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 17 October 1917; marched into 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot, Le Havre, 18 October 1917.

Proceeded to unit, 22 October 1917; taken on strength of 25th Bn, in the field, 24 October 1917.

Wounded in action, 2 November 1917; admitted to No 5 Field Ambulance, 3 November 1917; transferred to No 3 Casualty Clearing Station, 5 November 1917; to No 1 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples, 6 November 1917; to England, 14 November 1917; to No 1 Western General Hospital, Liverpool, 14 November 1917; discharged to furlough, 28 December 1917, and to report to No 4 Command Depot, Hurdcott, 11 January 1918.

Marched out of No 4 Command Depot, Hurdcott, 11 February 1918, and marched into Overseas Training Bde, Longbridge Deverill, the same day.

Proceeded overseas to France, 4 March 1918; marched into Australian Intermediate Base Depot, Le Havre, 5 March 1918.

Proceeded to unit, 7 March 1918; rejoined 25th Bn, 9 March 1918.

Killed in action, 4 July 1918.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Statement, Red Cross File No 1230202A, 829 Lance Corporal H. COGGINS, D Company, 25th Bn, 2 October 1918: 'I knew Groves; his name was Arthur; he was a Runner in D. Coy. I saw them digginig his grave a mile outside Villers Bretonneux on the way to Warfusee in the direction of Peronne. It was a separate grave; there was no Cemetery there. I also saw S/Bs taking his body to the grave.'

Second statement, 5036 Pte M.S.G. GROVES, 26th Bn, 18 March 1919: 'He is my brother. He was in D. Coy. and came from Trade River, N.S.W. and was married. He was hit by a shell at Villers Bretonneux in the early morning, being hit in the chest and killed outright. He was buried in the open the same day just off Villers Bretonneux.'

Third statement, 5023 Pte C.F. GALLAGHER, D Company, 25th Bn, 4 June 1919: 'I did not know Groves nor did I see him killed. I helped to bury him outside Villers Bretonneux (near the Hangers where he was killed -- next day. I put up a cross with his name on, over the grave.'

Fourth statement, 3645 Pte W.D. FORD, 25th Bn, 29 August 1919: 'Was a mate of mine. He was killed on the Hop off tape at Villers Brettoneaux [sic] on 4th July 1918, while waiting the signal to attack. I did not see casualty but Sgt. T. Cox of D. Coy. was lying next to him at the same time so could give full particulars. He with others were buried in the open at Villers Brettoneaux. Do not know of cross.'

Note on file: 'No trace Germany Cert. by Capt. Mills. 10.10.19.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, GROVES Alexander
Red Cross File No 1230202A

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