The AIF Project

Archibald John AIRD

Regimental number5048
Place of birthBaroota, South Australia
SchoolWagin State School, Western Australia
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarm labourer
AddressWagin, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinFather, A Aird, Wagin, Western Australia
Previous military serviceServed in the Senior Cadets (1 year) and in the Australian Light Horse, Citizen Military Forces (3 years).
Enlistment date24 January 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll24 January 1916
Place of enlistmentBlackboy Hill, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name16th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/33/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A9 Shropshire on 31 March 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll48th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 13 August 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Date of death13 August 1916
Age at death21.10
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
145
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Albert Hall and Christina AIRD
Family/military connectionsCousins and brother-in-law served.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Fremantle, 31 March 1916; marched in to 4th Training Bn, Tel el Kebir, 24 April 1916.

Admitted to hospital, 2 May 1916 (no further details recorded).

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 7 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 14 June 1916.

Taken on strength, 48th Bn, in the field, 13 August 1916.

Reported missing in action, 13 August 1916; Court of Enquiry, 4 May 1917, confirmed killed in action, 13 August 1916.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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