The AIF Project

Joseph KEEN

Regimental number1967
Place of birthArthurton, Yorkes Peninsula, South Australia
SchoolMoonta Mines State School, South Australia
ReligionMethodist
OccupationMiner
AddressMoonta, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinMother, Mrs F Keen, Moonta Mines, Moonta, South Australia
Enlistment date12 January 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name10th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/27/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A20 Hororata on 20 April 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll10th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour Circular"To the best of my knowledge, fought all through the Gallipoli Campaign. Went with the first S.A. to France. An Anzac." Details from Mother.
FateKilled in Action 25 July 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death23.10
Age at death from cemetery records23
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
59
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William and Fanny KEEN, Moonta Mines, South Australia
Family/military connections"Plenty of Cousins and an Uncle."

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