Alfred John HEARPS

Regimental number409
Place of birthForth, Tasmania
SchoolPublic School, Tasmania
ReligionChurch of England
AddressHarvey's Hotel, Queenstown, Tasmania
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19.5
Height5' 8.5"
Weight144 lbs
Next of kinFather, Alfred Hearps, Shannon Hill, Mount Morgan, Queensland
Previous military serviceServed in the Senior Cadets.
Enlistment date20 August 1914
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll20 August 1914
Place of enlistmentPontville, Tasmania
Rank on enlistmentSergeant
Unit name12th Battalion, D Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/29/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Hobart, Tasmania, on board Transport A2 Geelong on 20 October 1914
Regimental number from Nominal RollCommissioned
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll12th Battalion

2nd Lieutenant

Unit: 12th Battalion
Promotion date: 5 August 1916

FateKilled in Action 19-22 August 1916
Place of death or woundingMouquet Farm, Pozieres, France
Age at death21
Age at death from cemetery records21
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.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Alfred and Eva HEARPS, 3 London Street, Enmore, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (Gallipoli Campaign), 2 March 1915.

Admitted to No 2 Field Ambulance, 28 July 1915 (hysteria), and transferred to No 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station; to HS 'Itonus', 28 July 1915; to No 1 Australian General Hospital, Alexandria, 1 August 1915; to Convalescent Hospital, Helouan, 11 August 1915 (breakdown); discharged to Base Details, Zeitoun, 16 August 1915.

Embarked Alexandria to rejoin unit, 11 September 1915; rejoined unit, Gallipoli, 17 September 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria, 6 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Appointed Company Quartermaster Sergeant, 1 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 29 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 5 April 1916.

Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant, 5 August 1916.

Reported wounded and missing, 19-22 August 1916.

Court of Enquiry, 18 June 1917, concluded: 'Killed in action, 19-22 August 1916.'

Red Cross File 1310105B, statement by 3067 Pte A.Mm BEAN, 12th Bn (patient, Kitchener War Hospital, Brighton, England), 14 April 1917: 'Pte A.M. Bean was Lieut. Hearps' batman. They were going over the top about 50 yards beyond Mouquet when Lieut. Hearps was hit in the back of the neck by a piece of shell 2" by 3", this paralyzed him, his batman stayed with him for 1/2 an hour when at the request of Lieut Hearps he returned to get help but was told by Lieut. Roper that Mouquet Farm was then in the hands of the Germans. Therefore impossible to send others to find him at the same time forbad Pte Bean to return, remarking "how he got back safely only God knew." At Roll Call Lieut Hearps was marked missing. Nothing further was heard until about the middle of September when his identification disc was sent in by the 16th Batt. No explanation was given. From this Pte Bean desires you to draw our own conclusion, but he is sure he is dead feeling that no man could live with such a wound.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, HEARPS Alfred John
Red Cross File 1310105B