The AIF Project

Richard ABRAM

Regimental number207
Place of birthBanks, Lancashire, England
SchoolBanks Methodist School, England
Age on arrival in Australia21
ReligionMethodist
OccupationFarm hand
AddressLong Lane Banks, South Pool, England
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 9"
Weight160 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Ann Abram, Long Lane Banks, South Pool, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date3 March 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll1 March 1915
Place of enlistmentPerth, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name28th Battalion, B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/45/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A11 Ascanius on 29 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll28th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 29 July 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Date of death29 July 1916
Age at death25
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
112
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Ann ABRAM, Long Lane Banks, Southport, England
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Letter, Abram to parents, 11 July 1915: 'I may tell you that I am always getting on alright amongst the soldiers[.] [W]e left Australia on the 9th June and arrived on the 2nd[;] we had a lovely passge, we was (sic) seveenteen days before we sighted land, and then we took the train from Suez to Cairo, Cairo is a pretty large city there is (sic) some nice buildings but the people is (sic) very dirty[.] There is another city, about a mile from where we are camped called Helioples (sic), it is full of wounded soldiers, all the big hotels and large warehouses are turned into hospitals[.] We are only about four days travel from hear (sic) to the Dardanells [sic][.] I dont [sic] know when we will be going to the front but I dont [sic] think it will be long[.] It is very hot hear [sic][;] we have to do all our training in the early morning and late at night ... I was sorry that we did not come to England to our training as I would have had a chance of seeing you but never mind I will come and see you after the war if I am spared.'

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 4 September 1915.

Admitted to 7th Field Ambulance, 12 October 1915 (nail removed); returned to lines same day.

Admitted to 7th Field Ambulance, 23 November 1916 (jaundice); transferred same day to 13th Casualty Clearing Station; to St Paul's Hospital, Malta, 29 November 1915; to Ghain Tuffecha, 10 January 1916; embarked Malta for Egypt, 16 January 1916; disembarked Alexandria, 21 January 1916, and admitted same day to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis; discharged to Overseas Base, 26 January 1916; rejoined Bn and returned to duty, Moascar, 6 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 16 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 21 March 1916.

Reported missing in action, 29 July 1916.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 4 January 1917, pronounced fate as 'Killed in action, 29 July 1916'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 0010703B, 1926 Pte H.J. Edwards, B Company, 28th Bn (patient, Pinner Hospital, Middlesex, England), 6 October 1916: 'Informant states that on 29th July 1916 at Pozieres Abram was killed in a charge going over the top. Informant was an eyewitness.'

Second statement, 3225 Pte A.E. PADY, 28th Bn (patient, Horton County of London War Hospital, Epsom, England), 31 October 1916: 'Informant states that on July 29th in the attack on Pozieres Pte. Abram was beside him advancing by night and was shot by machine gun fire. He saw him suddenly fall out of line, and the attack went on. Abram was seen no more. He was certainly killed.'

Third statement, 324 Sergeant W.K. KEWELEY, 28th Bn, 28 October 1916: 'The night of the 28th an unsuccessful attempt was made on a position near Pozieres, the night we returned to Pozieres[.] The last I saw of the above was about a hundred yards from the enemies [sic] position when we made the final rush and were handicapped by the barbed-wire. Roll was called on the morning of the 29th when he was reported "Missing". The next night I was included in a party to bring in as many wounded as possible, and those who were killed we left for a special burying party. On August 3rd we were succesful in capturing the position and I personally crawled out amongst the bodies to see if any of our platoon could be recognised, but could not see anything of Private Abrams who was in our platoon. Several of our wounded were captured by the Germans on the 28th and quite a number as [sic] been reported recently and we feel confident that more names will be reported. If I get an opportunity of visiting the graves around Pozieres, while we a [sic] passing this time, there is a chance of him being buried and not reported.'

Fourth report, 73 Pte J.A. GLOVER, 28th Bn (patient, 18th General Hospital, Etaples), 4 December 1916: 'I saw him wounded through the shoulder during the advance to the rear of Pozieres. He dropped, but got up again and walking back towards to D/S. I have heard nothing more of him.'

Note ofn Red Cross file: 'No trace Germany[.] Cert. by Capt. Mills. 10.10.19.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ABRAM Richard
Red Cross File No 0010703B

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