The AIF Project

Joseph Chester KERR

Regimental number900
Place of birthSale, Victoria
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationFarmer
AddressArcadia Homestead, Shepparton, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Height5' 6.5"
Weight124 lbs
Next of kinFather, Samuel Kerr, Arcadia Homestead, Shepparton, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 6 months in the Junior Cadets.
Enlistment date15 March 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll27 March 1915
Place of enlistmentShepparton, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name24th Battalion, D Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/41/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 10 May 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll24th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 26 August 1916
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
102
Family/military connectionsBrother: 405 Corporal Samuel James KERR MM, 8th Light Horse Regiment, returned to Australia, 6 September 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 30 August 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria from Mudros, 10 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 20 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 26 March 1916.

Promoted Sergeant, 14 July 1916.

Killed in action, 26 August 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, KERR Joseph Chester

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