The AIF Project

James Lawrence ABBOTT

Regimental number2461
Place of birthSt Kilda, Victoria
SchoolState School, Victoria
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationSalesman
Address14 Orchard Street, Brighton, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Height5' 5"
Weight133 lbs
Next of kinFather, Henry Richard Abbott, 14 Orchard Street, Brighton, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed in the 49th Infantry, Citizen Military Forces; still serving at time of AIF enlistment.
Enlistment date19 July 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit name2nd Field Company Engineers, Reinforcement 12
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/21/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board RMS Mooltan on 11 December 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSapper
Unit from Nominal Roll2nd Field Company Engineers
FateKilled in Action 23 July 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death19
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.

Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Proceeded to Serapeum, Zeitoun, Egypt, 23 March 1916.

Taken on strength, 2nd Field Company, Australian Engineers, France, 14 April 1916.

Killed in action, France, 23 June 1916.

The officer in charge of Base Records wrote to the family of J L Abbott on 3 February 1919 and noted, 'a memorial cross has been erected in the Albert Communal Cemetery Extension. It is to be understood this Cross does not indicate the actual location of the grave.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ABBOTT James Lawrence

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