The AIF Project

John Wilfred WARDILL

Regimental number1762
Date of birth25 February 1892
Place of birthCarr Hill Farm, Ruswarp, nr Whitby, Yorkshire, England
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarm labourer
AddressBeaudesert, Mudgee, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23.11
Height5' 9"
Weight142 lbs
Next of kinFather, John Wardill, Grange Farm, Brotton, Yorkshire, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date22 January 1916
Place of enlistmentGulgong, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name45th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/62/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic on 14 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll45th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularArrived in Australia per 'Orantes', 14 September 1911, sponsored by the 'Dreadnought' Scheme. Employed at 'Beaudesert', Mudgee, NSW. Wounded in action, 8 June 1916.
FateKilled in Action 5 April 1918
Place of death or woundingDernancourt, Somme, France
Age at death25
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
140
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Hannah WARDILL.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 45th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 26 May 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 2 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 8 June 1916.

Wounded in action, 8 June 1916, and admitted to 4th Field Ambulance (gun shot wound, head, arm, shoulders), and transferred to 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, and then to 8th Stationary Hospital, Wimereux; to England, 10 August 1916, and admitted to 1st Southern General Hospital, Birmingham, 10 October 1916 (gun shot wound, thigh); transferred to 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, 18 October 1916; marched in to 4th Command Depot, Wareham, 24 November 1916; transferred to 61st Bn, 23 March 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 29 April 1917; taken on strength, 45th Bn, 4 May 1917.

On leave to United Kingdom, 4 February 1918; rejoined unit from leave, 21 February 1918.

Killed in action, 5 April 1918.

Statement, Red Cross File No 2860402M, 2387 Pte R. BEETY, D Company, 45th Bn, 8 August 1918: 'Wardell [sic] was killed outright just outside Pioneer Trench between Dernancourt Railway and Albert Road, at the hop-over by a bullet wound in the neck. I saw him killed, but cannot say as to his burial. We were relieved that night.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, WARDILL John Wilfred
Red Cross File No 2860402M

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