The AIF Project

Robert Barr WINDLOW

Regimental number1263
Place of birthFootscray, Victoria
AddressGlenhuntly Road, Glenhuntly, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 5.5"
Weight150 lbs
Next of kinT J Windlow, Glenhuntly Road, Glenhuntly, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date12 July 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name29th Battalion, D Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/46/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A11 Ascanius on 10 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll14th Field Artillery Brigade
FateKilled in Action 23 January 1917
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)Final unit incorrectly entered on Nominal Roll as 12th Field Artillery Brigade.
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
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Disembarked Suez, 7 December 1915.

Admitted to 8th Field Ambulance, 27 January 1916 (influenza); transferred to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, 12 February 1916; transferred to 1st Stationary Hospital, Ismailia, 12 February 1916 (broncho-pneumonia); to Hospital Train, 15 February 1916, and admitted to 1st Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis; transferred to British Red Cross Convalescent Depot, Montazah, 25 February 1916; discharged to Agricultural Hall, Ghezireh, 22 March 1916.

Taken on strength, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, Tel el Kebir, 1 April 1916, and posted to 54th Battery.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 20 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 30 June 1916.

Wounded in action, 23 January 1917 (shell wound, head), and admitted to 60th Field Ambulance.

Died of wounds, 23 January 1917.

Statement, Red Cross File No 2991108U, 11410 Gunner S. TAYLOR, 54th Battery, 14th Field Artillery Brigade (patient, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England), 6 June 1917: 'I was in the same Gun pit with them at Ginchy when Windlow was killed outright and [1295 Sergeant G.] Dunmer died an hour or so later, both from the same shell. I saw this happen and helped to bury both - Windlow at the Aid Post Cemetery and Dunmer at the F.A. Cemetery at Ginchy Wood. I did not remain to see whether the graves were marked but think the Stations will have attended to this. Dunmer was unconscious all the time.' [Note by interviewer: 'A most reliable witness. He showed me his note book records of these casualties.']

Second statement, 16056 Gunner H.G. GARDINER, 54th Battery, 14th Field Artillery Brigade (patient, 22nd General Hospital, Etaples), 25 May 1917: 'He was killed by the explosion of our ammunition dump in Death Valley on the right of Ginchy which took place about 11 a.m. He lived only about 5 minutes. I aw him just after he had been hit. I went to his burial which was close to the D/S at Ginchy corner. I have not seen his grave since but believe some of the battery went to fix it up and see to a cross being erected. He was my mate all through until he got hit.'

Third staement, 5552 Gunner C.E. KELLY, 54th Battery, 14th Field Artillery Brigade, 4 May 1917: 'He belonged to the 54th Bty. and was killed by a direct hit from a shell on the gun pit on January 23rd at Ginchy (in Death Valley). I was in the pit at the time and saw his dead body. The body was buried at the first aid station not far from from the battery that night. A cross was arranged for to be put on his grave. I helped myself to bury his body.'

Grave subsequently lost.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, WINDLOW Robert Barr
Red Cross File No 2991108U

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