The AIF Project

George ABBOTT

Regimental number6465
Place of birthMontreal, Province Quebec, Canada
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationRigger and spliceman
Address26 Victoria Street, Flemington, Victoria
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation33
Height5' 5.5"
Weight147 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs M Abbott, 26 Victoria Street, Flemington, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 7 years in the Royal Navy; time expired.
Enlistment date11 November 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll11 November 1915
Place of enlistmentNewmarket, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name14th Battalion, 21st Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/31/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on 2 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll14th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 11 April 1917
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death35
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
71
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John Fredrick and Mary Catherine ABBOTT; Wife: Margaret M ABBOTT, 27 Fenn Street, Flemington, Victoria
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 2 October 1916; found guilty, at sea, 28 December 1916, of being absent without leave from 6.30 am parade: forfeited 7 days' pay; disembarked Plymouth, England, 16 November 1916.

Marched in to 4th Training Bn, Codford, 21 November 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 8 February 1918; joined 14th Bn, in the field, 13 February 1917.

Reported missing in Action, 11 April 1917.

Court of Enquiry, held at Predefin, 13 November 1917, pronounced fate as 'Killed in Action, 11 April 1917'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 00103037, 6625 Pte C.A. SIMPSON, 14th Bn, 8 November 1917: 'I actually saw casualty taken a prisoner of war at Bullecourt by the enemy on the 11th April, 1917. I am quite positive about it. I was a stretcher bearer.'

Red Cross Bureau, London, to Red Cross, Melbourne, 18 January 1918: 'We have no trace of this man as a P/W and we believe there is little or no hope that any more men reported missing in April will prove to be prisoners in Germany. We have interviewed soldiers who escaped from Germany after being captured on 11th April 1917 and are assured by them that many of the wounded who were left in the dugouts after we retired were not made prisoners by the Germans. We understand that these escaped prisoners have been carefully examined by the Military Authorities and we cannot at oresent make more definite statements on the matter, but we would most strongly urge that you discourage relatives of soldiers rumoured to be captured on that date (and still not officially reported as prisoners

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Prudential Insurance Company of America, Newark, New Jersey, wrote to War Department, Canberra, 30 March 1944: 'For insurance purposes, we are interested in obtaining information on one Charles F. Coye, who was a member of the Australian Army in 1914. He was born in Marlboro, Massachusetts, February 22, 1882 and enlisted in the Army in Melbourne, Australia under the assumed name of George Abbott. His address in 1914 was given as Pvt. George Abbott, serial #6465, C Company, 14th Bat., Australian Imperial Forces Abroad. On April 11, 1914 [sic: marginal note: ?1917] he was declared missing in action and his family have not heard from him since that time. We would appreciate any information you can furnish and we are particularly interested in learning whether he was ever located after being declared missing.'

Reply, 24 April 1944: 'Apart from the age, there is nothing in the records of George Abbott to indicate that he is identical with Charles F. Coye.'
SourcesNAA: B2455, ABBOTT George
Red Cross File No 00103037

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