The AIF Project

Cecil Lawrence TABER

Regimental number4604
Place of birthCoolac, New South Wales
SchoolCoolac Public School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
AddressCoolac, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 10.5"
Weight171 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs M Taber, Coolac, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date27 July 1915
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name13th Battalion, 14th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/30/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A70 Ballarat on 16 December 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll54th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 15 May 1917
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death23
Age at death from cemetery records23
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Commemorated in Coolac Cemetery, New South Wales. Photo: Peter Dennis. Parents: William and Mary Ann TABER, Coolac, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsUncle: 6033 Pte Herbert Alexander BRIGGS, 23rd Bn, killed in action, 23 September 1917.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Disembarked Egypt, 22 March 1916.

Joined 54th Bn, Ferry Post, 1 April 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 29 June 1916.

Admitted to 5th Australian Field Ambulance, 13 December 1916, and transferred to Corps Rest Station (trench feet); discharged to duty, 30 December 1916, and rejoined Bn, in the field same day.

Admitted to 15th Australian Field Ambulance, 28 February 1917 (septic foot); transferred to 5th Division Rest Station, 17 March 1917; transferred to 45th Casualty Clearing Station, 29 March 1917; to 3rd Stationary Hospital, Rouen, 2 April 1917; to No 2 Convalescent Depot, 10 April 1917; to 5th Australian Division Base Depot, Etaples, 13 April 1917; rejoined Bn, in the field, 22 April 1917.

Killed in action, 15 May 1917.

Note, Red Cross File No 2680911R: 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills 10-10-19.'

Statement, 4357 Sergeant R.C. BENSON, C Company, 54th Bn, 31 August 1917: 'I saw him killed by a shell. This happened in the Hindenburg line just in front of Reincourt, near Bullecourt. He was buried where he died, a board was placed over the grave by the party. Later on a cross was erected by the Pioneers with all particulars. Taber was a L.Cpl. I knew him well in the Batt. He joined up the Batt at Ferry's Post Egypt. He came from N.S.W.'

Second statement, 2726 Pte T.B. BRIAN, C Company, 54th Bn, 17 September 1917: 'He was a Lce. Cpl. in C. Coy. IX Pltn. I buried his body the day after he was killed. He had been hit by a shell. He was buried in a separate grave just over the top of the trench. The disc and paybook were taken off the body and handed in. I did not know what part of Australia he came from.'

Third statement, 4541 Pte J. MARTIN, C Company, 54th Bn, 5 September 1917: 'I saw him lying dead just behind the front line, on the parados, in front of Reinecourt [sic]. He was buried where he lay by a party from the coy. I could not say if any cross was erected. I knew him well. He came over with me in the 14th reinf of the 13th Batt. We came over on the Ballarat. He came from N.S.W. somewhere on the Western Line.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, TABER Cecil Lawrence
Red Cross File No 2680911R

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