The AIF Project

William Thomas PIKE

Regimental number2632
Place of birthNewtown, Sydney
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationDrover
AddressMoree, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Height5' 7.75"
Weight146 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Pike, 38 Newman Street, Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceAIF (1 year 198 days)
Enlistment date8 September 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll17 October 1914
Place of enlistmentArmidale, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name34th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/51/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board SS Napier on 17 November 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll13th Battalion
FateReturned to Australia 4 July 1918
Age at death from cemetery records24
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
70
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Son of Mrs Isabella PIKE, 38 Newman Street, Newtown, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsPrevious period of service, see 1267 William Thomas PIKE.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 17 November 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 29 January 1917; marched into 9th Training Bn, 30 January 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 9 May 1917; marched into 3rd Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, 10 May 1917.

Promoted to Acting Extra Duty Sergeant, 11 May 1917; reverts to the rank of Private, 20 May 1917.

Proceeded to unit, 25 May 1917, and taken on strength of 13th Bn, in the field, the same day.

Admitted to No 3 Australian Field Ambulance, 31 August 1917, and transferred to 1st Australian Divisional Rest Station (No 13 Australian Field Ambulance) the same day (colic abdominal); discharged, 3 September 1917, and rejoined unit the same day.

Wounded in action, 18 October 1917; admitted to No 4 Australian Field Ambulance, 18 October 1917, and transferred to No 13 Casualty Clearing Station the same day (mustard gas); to No 14 General Hospital, Wimereux, 19 October 1917; to England, 29 October 1917; to Bevington War Hospital, Shrewsbury, 29 October 1917; to No 3 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, 4 January 1918; marched into No 3 Command Depot, Hurdcott, 11 January 1918.

Marched into Overseas Training Depot, Longbridge Deverill, 18 April 1918.

Proceeded overseas to France, 15 May 1918; marched into Australian Intermediate Base Depot, Le Havre, 17 May 1918.

Proceeded to unit, 18 May 1918; rejoined 13th Bn, 23 May 1918.

Killed in action, 4 July 1918.

Undated note by Lieutenant John H. East, Assistant Adjutant, 13th Bn: '2632 Pte PIKE. was buried by the 16th Battalion A.I.F. We have been in communication with them on the subject but they are unable to supply any definite information except that he was buried in the Hemelet Communal Cemetery. East of CORBIE.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, PIKE William Thomas

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