The AIF Project

Francis Richard BOURKE

Regimental number1665
Place of birthMaitland, New South Wales
SchoolCatholic School, West Maitland, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationPorter
Address14 Forbes Street, Darlington, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 11.25"
Weight154 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs E Bourke, 14 Forbes Street, Darlington, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 3 years in Cadets (Compulsory Military Training), and 1 year in Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date4 June 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll28 May 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A23 Suffolk on 28 July 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll17th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 3 May 1917
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Date of death3 May 1917
Age at death20.10
Age at death from cemetery records20
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
82
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John Edward and Elizabeth BOURKE, 14 Forbes Street, Darlington, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsCousin: 1682 Harold John BOURKE, 30th Bn, killed in action, Fromelles, France, 20 July 1916.
SourcesNAA: B2455, BOURKE Francis Richard

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