The AIF Project

Eric Lawrence ABRAHAMS

Regimental number5646
Place of birthBrisbane, Queensland
SchoolState School, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationDriver
AddressSymonds Street, Healesville, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Height5' 8"
Weight124 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs A Hockey, Symonds Street, Healesville, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil (exempt area under Compulsory Military Training scheme)
Enlistment date25 January 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll25 January 1916
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name8th Battalion, 18th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/25/5
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A33 Ayrshire on 3 July 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll46th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 11 April 1917
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)Date of fate incorrectly entered on Nominal Roll as 1 April 1917.
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death19.6
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
148
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Son of Amelia HOOKEY (formerly ABRAHAMS), of Symons Street, Healesville, Victoria, and the late Laurance ABRAHAMS
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 3 July 1916; disembarked Plymouth, england, 2 September 1916, and marched in to 2nd Training Bn, Perham Downs.

Proceeded overseas to France, 9 October 1918; taken on strength, 46th Bn, in the field, 20 October 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 27 March 1917.

Reported 'Wounded and missing', 11 April 1917.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 26 november 1917, pronounced fate as 'Killed in Action, 11 April 1917'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 0010605C, 1823 Pte R.A. COUCH, D Company, 46th Bn (patient, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England), 3 August 1917: 'Refer to Cpl. H. Akers 46th Battn. D. Coy. 13th Platoon who saw him lying wounded under the German wires. He was unconscious most of the time and was about 100 yards from the German trenches. Ground was lost. He was left there, so if alive must be a prisoner. I did not see him wounded.'

Second statement, Corporal J.W. SYKES, D Company, 46th Bn, 5 September 1917: 'He was very seriously wounded and left in shell hole in enemy's wire on 11.4.17. Another man Pte Castles H.K. was with him in same shell hole, also wounded. Pte Castles is now reported prisoner of war in Germany. in my opinion Pte. Abrahams was too seriously wounded to be a prisoner also, as I think he would not have been able to stand the exposure.'

Third statement, 2674 Pte R.J. HASSALL, 46th Bn, 2 September 1917: 'Shortly after dawn on April 11th 1917 whilst we were attacking about midway between Bullecourt and Lagnicourt, I saw the above mentioned Pte W. [sic] L. Abrahams lying seriously wounded in a shell hole in the enemys [sic] line of wire, which was nearest to our trenches. We were held up by this wire and occupied shell holes in it till 6 p.m. when we retired to our own lines. Pte Abrahams was in the same shell hole as I was, [he] was delirious and unable to walk. I was the last to leave to shell hole. I have not heard of or seen Pte Abrahams since, and do not think he left the shell hole before the enemy regained possession.'

Fourth statement, 2699 Pte A. JACKSON, 46th Bn, 10 July 1917: 'I knew him. It was during our attack on Bullecourt. we found him in a shell hole bleeding to death. We had to leave him there as it was during our attack. As far as I know he was never recovered and he was almost dead when I saw him.'

Note on file: 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills. 10.10.19.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ABRAHAMS Eric Lawrence
Red Cross File No 0010605C

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