The AIF Project

Albert Ernest TAYLOR

Date of birth10 October 1889
Place of birthNorth Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria
SchoolState Schools, North Carlton, Victoria
Other trainingWorking Men's College, Melbourne, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
Address820 Drummond Street, North Carlton, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation26
Height5' 8"
Weight151 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs C Stewart, 820 Drummond Street, North Carlton, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed in the Victorian Garrison Artillery; Lieutenant, 54th (Clifton Hill) Infantry Regiment; Lieutenant, 7th Field Company Engineers (Victoria); before enlisting was in command of the 4th Field Company Engineers (New South Wales).
Enlistment date8 October 1915
Rank on enlistment2nd Lieutenant
Unit name1st Field Company Engineers, Reinforcement 11
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/20/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A72 Beltana on 9 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Division Engineers
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularPrior to enlisting he worked in the Construction Branch, Electrical Engineering Department, Post-Master General, Sydney, New South Wales.
FateDied of wounds 23 July 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death26.9
Age at death from cemetery records26
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
Parents: Robert and Christina TAYLOR, 8 Sherbrooke Avenue, Elsternwick, Victoria
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 1st Field Company Engineers, Tel el Kebir, 28 December 1915.

Appointed Lieutenant, 20 February 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 21 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 28 March 1916.

Detached for duty at Engineers School, Sailly Renescure, 8 April 1916; rejoined unit, in the field, 14 April 1916.

Detached for duty at Engineers School, Sailly Renescure, 17 June 1916; rejoined unit, in the field, 23 June 1916.

Died of wounds, 23 July 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

AIF Administrative Headquarters, London, wrote to Base Records, Melbourne, 16 April 1918: '... you are advised that his grave cannot be located'.

AIF Administrative Headquarters, London, advised Base Records, Melbourne, 28 February 1919, that a report had been received from the CO, 1st Field Company Engineers: 'Lieut. Taylor A.E. was Officer in charge of No. 2 Section. On night of 23.7.16. during the attack on POZIERES, he went out with his Section for work in the front line. On the morning of the 24th, while coming out of the line, he was struck in the stomach by portoin of an H.E. Shell and he died shortly afterwards. The body was buried near the Trench and a cross was erected. The exact location of grave is not known but it is near Pioneer Trench in the valley leading from CONTALMAISON to POZIERES. (Approximately Sheet 57D.S.E.X.10.b.91.) He was buried by a party from 5th Field Company under Lt. Steele of that Unit.'
SourcesNAA: B2455, TAYLOR Albert Ernest

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