|Religion||Church of England|
|Age at embarkation||26|
|Next of kin||Brother, Frederick O'Neil, Broken Hill, New South Wales|
|Rank on enlistment||Private|
|Unit name||16th Battalion, F Company|
|AWM Embarkation Roll number||23/33/1|
|Embarkation details||Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board Troopship A40 Ceramic on
|Rank from Nominal Roll||SGT Cook|
|Unit from Nominal Roll||16th Battalion|
|Fate||Killed in Action
|Place of burial||No known grave|
|Commemoration details||Australian 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
'Is brought to notice for great gallantry and devotion to duty in raiding operations on an enemy strong point near HAMEL, on the night of the 15th/16th June, 1918. This N.C.O. was in charge of a small subsidiary party whose task it was to engage a German machine gun in a Sunken Road, the fire of which commanded the point of entry of the raiding parties. With great skill and initiative this N.C.O. led his party into position after crawling some 300 yards over No Man's Land, and according to the pre-arranged programme led his party forward at Zero into the teeth of the gun, and notwithstanding the fat that he was twice hit, and 33% of his party were casualties, he put the gun and crew out of action and succeeded in bringing the gun back to our lines. His work was of the highest order and contributed to no small degree to the success of the operations as the success of the main raid depended to a large extent on the neutralisation of this particular gun. He is strongly recommended for distinction.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 23
War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western FrontMedals: Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal