Theodore ROOKE

Regimental number611
Place of birthEast Fremantle Western Australia
ReligionChurch of England
AddressTenterden, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Next of kinStep-Brother, George Crosby Gibson, 85 Glyde Street, East Fremantle, Western Australia
Enlistment date20 January 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll13 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name44th Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/61/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A29 Suevic on 6 June 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll44th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 13-14 March 1917
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
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Fremantle, 6 June 1916; disembarked Plymouth, 21 July 1916.

Found guilty, 22 November 1916, of being absent without leave from midnight, 30 October 1916, to 7 am, 3 November 1916: awarded 4 days' Field Punishment No 2, and forfeited 8 days' pay.

Proceeded overseas to France, 25 November 1916.

Reported missing in action, 14 March 1917.

Court of Enquiry, 28 August 1917, concluded: 'Killed in action, 13-14 March 1917.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsGeorge GIBSON was Rooke's half-brother, not step-brother as Rooke listed an his Attestation Form. Rooke stated on the Attestation Form that both parents were dead, but his mother, Margaret Rooke, was alive, but was presumably not listed as his next of kin because he was underage and had not received parental permission to enlist.
SourcesNAA: B2455, ROOKE Theodore