The AIF Project

Henry Francis WALKER

Regimental number5211
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales
SchoolHurstville Public School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarmer
AddressSutton Cottage Bellevue Parade, Hurstville, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Next of kinFoster Mother, Mrs R Gover, Sutton Cottages, Bellevue Parade, Hurstville, Sydney, New South Wales
Enlistment date7 January 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll6 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name13th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/30/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A16 Star Of Victoria on 31 March 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll4th Division Headquarters
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularReceived M.M. for saving a machine gun.
FateKilled in Action 5 February 1917
Place of death or woundingGinchy, France
Age at death19
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
71
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: (Foster) Mrs Rachel Gover.
Medals

Military Medal

'On morning of 31st August, 1916, in the operations north west of POZIERES, this man showed the greatest courage and endurance. A Lewis gun in an advanced post close to the German lines was reported by the stretcher bearers to be guarded only by dead men. He went out under heavy shelling, recovered the gun, and then carried it single-handed through saps knee keep in mud, where every step was attended with the greatest physical exertion, and delivered it safely to Battalion Headquarters in SAUSAGE VALLEY.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62
Date: 19 April 1917

Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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