The AIF Project

Percy BLACK

Regimental number170
Place of birthBeremboke, Victoria
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationMiner
AddressSouthern Cross, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation36
Next of kinMrs S Black, Newtown via Geelong, Victoria
Enlistment date8 September 1914
Rank on enlistmentLance Corporal
Unit name16th Battalion, D Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/33/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic on 22 December 1914
Rank from Nominal RollMajor
Unit from Nominal Roll6th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Unspecified


Mention in Despatches awarded, and promulgated, 'London Gazette', second Supplement, No. 29256, 5 August 1915; 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 133, 28 October 1915.
Recommendation date: 14 May 1915

Distinguished Conduct Medal


Recommendation date: 22 May 1915

Distinguished Service Order


Recommendation date: 13 August 1916

Unspecified


Mention in Despatches awarded, and promulgated, 'London Gazette', fourth Supplement, No. 29664, 11 July 1916; 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 176, 30 November 1916.
Recommendation date: December 1915

FateKilled in Action 11 April 1917
Age at death from cemetery records38
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
78
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Commemorated (bronze plaque: 'This tablet is placed to his memory by his comrades of the Sixteenth Battalion') in St George's Cathedral, Perth, Western Australia. Parents: William John and Ann BLACK (nee Longmore)
Medals

Distinguished Conduct Medal

'On the night of 2nd-3rd May, 1915, during operations near Gaba Tepe, for exceptional gallantry. After all his comrades in his machine-gun section had been killed or wounded, and although surrounded by the enemy, he fired all available ammunition and finally brought his gun out of action.'
Source: 'London Gazette' No. 6542
Date: 3 July 1915

Distinguished Service Order

'For conspicuous gallantry during operations. He led his company over "No Man's Land" against an enemy's strong point, which he captured and consolidated under very difficult circumstances, and under heavy artillery and machine gun fire. On a subsequent occasion he did similar fine work.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 44
Date: 6 April 1916

Medaille Militaire (France)


Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62
Date: 19 April 1917

Family/military connectionsNephews: 2751 Sergeant William PRESCOTT DCM, 14th Bn, returned to Australia, 31 March 1919; 1757 Pte Hugh Henry Percival PRESCOTT, 59th Bn, killed in action, 19 July 1916; 37572 Gunner Horace Henderson PRESCOTT, 10th Field Artillery Brigade, died of wounds, 12 October 1918.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Medals: Distinguished Service Order, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Medaille Militaire, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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