The AIF Project

John WATSON

Regimental number4246
Place of birthDublin, Ireland
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationLabourer
AddressRockhampton, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation27
Height5' 9"
Weight152 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Jane Watson, Woolwich Arsenal, London, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date17 September 1915
Place of enlistmentRockhampton, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name25th Battalion, 10th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/42/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT Commonwealth on 28 March 1916
FateKilled in Action
Date of death14 November 1916
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
106
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Stated to be SENIOR HERBERT ALFRED
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Queensland on HMAT 'Commonwealth', 28 March 1916. Marched into 7th Training Bn, Tidworth, 14 June 1916; moved out from unit, Rollestone, 26 June 1916.

Proceeded to France, 25 July 1916. Taken on strength, 25th Bn, 4 August 1916.

Killed in action, France, 14 November 1916. Confirmed by Sergeant D. R. Crooks, Anzac Section, 3rd Echelon, General Headquarters, British Expeditionary Force. Letter from AIF Headquarters, London, to the Officer in Charge of Base Records, Melbourne, 7 December 1917, states: 'Information has been received from Mrs. J.A. Senior, 147 Reidhaven Road, Plumstead, Woolwich. S.E, which shows the correct name of the above-mentioned deceased soldier as SENIOR, Herbert Alfred, and that she, his mother, is next of kin. Documentary evidence has been produced in support of this, and all necessary action has been taken in this office in accordance with E.R.1901.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsReal name: Herbert Alfred SENIOR
SourcesNAA: B2455, WATSON John

Print format