The AIF Project

William ALEXANDER

Regimental number104
Place of birthBallina, Co Mayo, Ireland
SchoolNational School, Lisglennon, Killala, Co Mayo, Ireland
Age on arrival in Australia23
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationConstable
AddressPolice Barracks, Broken Hill, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation32
Height5' 10"
Weight156 lbs
Next of kinJohn Alexander, Lisglennon, Killala, Co Mayo, Ireland
Previous military serviceServed for 3 years with the African Police.
Enlistment date24 August 1914
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll24 August 1914
Place of enlistmentAdelaide, South Australia
Rank on enlistmentLance Corporal
Unit name3rd Light Horse Regiment, A Squadron
AWM Embarkation Roll number10/8/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 22 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll13th Light Horse Regiment
FateDied of disease 18 December 1917
Age at death25
Place of burialAt sea
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, Gallipoli, Western Front

Joined 3rd Light Horse Regiment at Gallipoli, 6 August 1915.

Promoted Sergeant, 7 August 1915.

Wounded in action, 25 September 1915 (bomb wound, right thigh: serious); admitted to St Elmo Hospital, Malta, 1 October 1915; to Ghain Tuffilo, 9 October 1915; to England, 26 October 1915, and admitted to Beaufort War Hospital, Fishponds, Bristol, 4 November 1915.

Returned to Egypt; disembarked Alexandria, 28 February 1916, and taken on strength, 1st Light Horse Training Regiment, Heliopolis, 1 March 1916.

Taken on strength, 13th Light Horse Regiment, Tel el Kebir, 2 June 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 14 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 24 June 1916. Taken on strength, 1st Anzac Army Corps Light Horse Regiment, 7 July 1916.

Promoted Farrier Sergeant, 29 July 1916.

Admitted to 5th Field Ambulance, 12 September 1916 (pleurisy), and transferred to 17th Casualty Clearing Station; to Ambulance Train No 19, 13 September 1916, and admitted to 3rd Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne, 13 September 1916 (bronchitis); transferred to England, 15 September 1916 (pleurisy), and admitted to 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, 16 September 1916. Discharged on furlough, 3 October 1916, to report to No 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs, 19 October 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 5 April 1917; rejoined unit, in the field, 19 April 1917.

Admitted to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, 18 September 1917 (pleurisy), and transferred same day to 3rd Casualty Clearing Station; to Ambulance Train No 10, 19 September 1917, and admitted to 55th General Hospital, 20 September 1917; transferred to England, 23 September 1917, and admitted to County of London War Hospital, Napsbury (pleurisy: slight); transferred to 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 13 October 1917. Discharged on furlough, 17 October 1917, to report to No 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 31 October 1917. Admitted to 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 14 November 1917 (pleurisy); discharged to No 2 Command Depot, Weymouth, 21 November 1917.

Commenced return to Australia on board HS 'Kanowna', 16 December 1917, for discharge (pulmonary tuberculosis); died on board ship, 18 December 1917; buried at sea.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Date of death19 December 1917
SourcesNAA: B2455, ALEXANDER William

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