The AIF Project

Robert ABBOTT

Regimental number4146
Place of birthNorton, Malton, Yorkshire, England
SchoolBower Memorial School, Norton, England
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationSleeper hewer
AddressNorth Greenbushes, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation29
Height5' 6.75"
Weight149 lbs
Next of kinBrother, Mr W Abbott, Kimberley Terrace, Norton, Malton, Yorkshire, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date15 September 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll8 September 1915
Place of enlistmentBlackboy Hill, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name11th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/28/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A30 Borda on 17 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll11th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 25 July 1916
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death31
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

Embarked Fremantle, 17 January 1916; disembarked Suez, 9 February 1916.

Joined 11th Bn, Serapeum, 17 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 20 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 5 April 1916.

Reported Missing, 25 July 1916.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 20 June 1917, pronounced fate as 'Killed in Action, 25 July 1916'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 00104049, 4930 Pte C.H. WELLS, 11th Bn (patient, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London), 26 October 1916: 'Informant states that Abbott was killed up by the Chalk Pits near Meaucourt Farm. Informant saw him buried.'

Second statement, 5412 Pte J. MACE, A Company, 11th Bn, 26 April 1917: 'Witness saw soldier killed by a shell while in our front line trenches at Pozieres about the above date [25 July 1916]. As he was blown to pieces, it was impossible to bury him.'

Third statement, 5059 Pte T. BYWATERS, Machine Gun Section, C Company, 11th Bn, 4 June 1917: 'I saw Abbot [sic] killed in our front line trenches at Mouquet Farm on July 28, about mid-day. He was shot through the heart by a sniper's bullet and was buried at the back of the parapet. As far as I know, no cross was put over the grave.'

Fourth statement, 5082 Pte F.G. CROSS, D Company, 11th Bn (patient, 1st Birmingham War Hospital, England), 31 December 1916: 'Informant states that on July 25th at Pozieres, Abbott was killed by a shell. He was literally blown to pieces.'

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

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ABBOTT Robert
Red Cross File No 00104049

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