The AIF Project

Harold Victor BOOKER

Regimental number4448
Place of birthOtford, Kent, England
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationDairy hand
AddressParramatta Road, Burwood, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation26
Next of kinMrs B Booker, Park Dairy, Parraniatta Road, Burwood, New South Wales
Enlistment date22 November 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name4th Battalion, 14th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/21/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A62 Wandilla on 3 February 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll4th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal

'For greatest courage and devotion to duty at Strazeele on night 16-17 April 1918.'
Recommendation date: 25 April 1918

Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 22 November 1915 and posted to 4th Bn, 14th Reinforcements. Taken on strength, 18 June 1916. Wounded at Pozieres, France, 24 July 1916. Awarded the Military Medal.
FateKilled in Action 30 April 1918
Place of death or woundingStrazeele sector, Belgium
Date of death30 April 1918
Age at death28.6
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

Military Medal

'During the advance of his Company forward of STRAZEELE on night 16th/17th April, 1918, this soldier, whilst stretcher bearer, displayed the greatest courage and devotion to duty in attending to wounded and dressing them in No Man's Land, and carrying them back to our lines under intense rifle and machine gun fire. On one occasion he went out to the German trench and after dressing the wounded man, carried him back to our lines under the heaviest of shell fire. His coolness and determination set a splendid example to the whole company.'

Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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