The AIF Project

William V.B. WYATT

Regimental number3148
True NameWYATT, William Victor Baily
ReligionChurch of England
AddressEssex Road, Surrey Hills, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height6' 0.75"
Weight178 lbs
Next of kinFather, Aaron Wyatt, Essex Road, Surrey Hills, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 2 years in the Cadets.
Enlistment date31 July 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit name5th Field Company Engineers
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/24/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic on 24 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll5th Field Company Engineers
FateKilled in Action 3 May 1917
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)*Given name William Victor
Age at death from cemetery records24
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Aaron and Elizabeth C WYATT
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Appointed Lance Corporal, Ferry Post, 27 February 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 17 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 23 March 1916.

Wounded in action, 20 May 1916 (gun shot wound, thigh), and admitted to 7th Field Ambulance; transferred to 2nd Division Rest Station, 20 May 1916; discharged to duty, 10 June 1916; rejoined unit, in the field, 10 June 1916.

Promoted Temporary 2nd Corporal, 30 August 1916.

Promoted Temporary Corporal, 7 November 1916.

Promoted Corporal, 25 November 1916.

Killed in action, 3 May 1917.

Statement, Red Cross File, 9428 Gunner R. CALDWELL, 2nd Trench Mortar Battery, 4 July 1917: 'On the 3rd May, 1917, we were attacking between Reincourt and Bullicourt (sic). we went over at 3.15 a.m. After we had gone about a mile and said he was hit - I tried to stop the bleeding but he died in my arms in a shell hole in a few minutes. I did not know the man but I took his papers and handed them to the Chaplain at the Church Army Hut at Bapaume on 5th May, 1917. I gave him a number of postcards, photographs and letters. His pay-book I gave to the O.C., the 2nd Australian Field Ambulance at a place within two miles in front of Noreuil on 3rd May, 1917. I forget the name of the place. I kept his pocket-book with his name on it which I am handing over to you now.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, WYATT William V.B.
Red Cross File No 3030703G

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