The AIF Project


Regimental number503
Place of birthVictoria, British Columbia, Canada
ReligionRoman Catholic
Address130 Victoria Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation26
Next of kinFather, C Brennan, 130 Victoria Avenue, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Enlistment date15 March 1915
Rank on enlistmentCorporal
Unit name20th Battalion, B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/37/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A35 Berrima on 25 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll20th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour Circular

Enlisted 15 March 1915. Promoted Corporal, 26 June 1915; Temporary Sergeant, 11 October 1915; Sergeant, 19 February 1917. Embarked with 20th Bn, 26 June 1915. Returned to Australia (following enteric fever), 8 March 1916. Re-embarked at Sydney with the 20th Bn, 15th Reinforcements, 9 September 1916. Rejoined the 20th Bn, in France, 17 December 1916; detached to 5th Brigade HQ, 10 January 1918; rejoined 20th Bn, 26 March 1918. Awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

FateKilled in Action 6 April 1918
Age at death30
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

Distinguished Conduct Medal

'For conspicuous gallantry on September 6, 1915, at Anzac, when he extinguished a bomb proof, which had been set alight under heavy fire. On September 10, he drove the Turks out of a bombing hole and exploded their store of bombs.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 44
Date: 6 April 1916

Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

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

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