The AIF Project

Oliver Oswald ABBOTT

Regimental number5043
Place of birthHoyleton, South Australia
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarmer
AddressKatanning, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation34
Height5' 7.5"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinFather, Mr A Abbott, Warren Road, Katanning, Western Australia
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date2 February 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll2 February 1916
Place of enlistmentBlackboy Hill, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name11th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/28/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A9 Shropshire on 31 March 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll11th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 2 February 1916; joined 11th Bn, 29 July 1916.
FateKilled in Action 20-23 August 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death34
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.

Family/military connectionsBrother: 14654 Pte Henry Edgar ABBOTT, 10th Field Ambulance, killed in action, Passchendaele, Belgium, 12 October 1917.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Fremantle, 31 March 1916; disembarked Suez, 24 April 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 29 May 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 3 June 1916.

Joined 11th Bn, in the field, 29 July 1916, and posted to C Company.

Killed in action, 20-23 August 1916.

Statement, Red Cross File No 0010205, 5110 Pte C. HARRALD, 11th Bn (patient, 4th London General Hospital, Denmark Hill, England), 30 December 1916: 'On July [sic] 20th at Mouquet Farm, Abbot [sic] was sniped through the head. I did not see this as I was just a little way behind, but some of the others did. He was buried at Mouquet Farm by a man I knew by the nickname of "Mary". I do not know his real name.'

Second statement, 4345 Pte P.J.B. TOUCHER, C Company, 11th Bn (patient, Horton War Hospital, Epsom, England), 2 January 1917: Informant states that on Aug. 20th. 1916 at Monquet [sic] Farm (Somme front) a friend of Abbot's [sic] told Informant that he (Abbot) was shot in the forehad whilst in the front line, by a German sniper. There were two German Snipers on the back of a wagon on a rise near Monquet Farm and Abbot was firing at one when the other fired at him and killed him on the spot. This friend of Abbot's buried him near where he fell. (Tourcher could not remember his name.)'

Third statement, 5149 Pte E. McROHAN, 11th Bn (patient, 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, England), 17 January 1917: 'Witness states:- was alongside when Abbot [sic] was sniped in the head while standing above papapet. Killed immediately. It was about 400 yards in front of Mouquet Farm [...] helped to bury him at side of trench. we were in the front line. Abbot was a fine chao, champion rifle shot of S.W. district of W.A. He was rather deaf.'

Note on Red Cross File: 'No trace Germany[.] Cert. by Capt. Mills. 10.10.19.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ABBOTT Oliver Oswald
Red Cross File No 00102025

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