The AIF Project

George William CAREY

Regimental number918
Place of birthDublin, Ireland
Other NamesHARKINS, William (true name)
SchoolSt Aloysius School, Hebburn-on-Tyne, Co Durham, England
Age on arrival in Australia32
ReligionRoman Catholic
Address15 Philip Street, Adelaide, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation31
Height5' 8"
Weight154 lbs
Next of kinUncle, William Harkins, 56 Thistle Street, Hebburn, England
Previous military serviceServed for 7 years in the Royal Irish Rifles.
Enlistment date21 August 1914
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1st Battalion, H Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/18/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board Transport A19 Afric on 18 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Pioneer Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour Circular'One of the first to land and one of the last to leave Gallipoli ... ' (details from Step-Mother)
FateKilled in Action 26 July 1916
Age at death from cemetery records32
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
Son of the late Annie HARKINS (formerly CAREY, nee HODGE), and William HARKINS (stepfather), 46 Thistle Street, Hebburn-on-Tyne, England. True name is 'HARKINS, William'
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 18 October 1914; embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli Peninsula, 5 April 1915.

Admitted to 1st Field Ambulance and transferred to 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital, Mudros, 18 September 1915 (diarrhoea); discharged to Base Details, 20 September 1915; re-admitted to 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital, 4 October 1915 (diarrhoea); transferred to Lowland Convalescent Camp, 13 October 1915; discharged to Base, 3 November 1915.

Proceeded to join unit, 14 November 1915; rejoined 1st Bn, Gallipoli, 17 November 1915; disembarked Alexandria, Egypt, 28 December 1915.

Admitted to 2nd Australian General Hospital, Ghezireh, 3 January 1916 (rheumatism); transferred to Ras el Tin Convalescent Camp, Alexandria, 9 January 1916; discharged to duty, 21 January 1916.

Attached as Guard, 23 January 1916; rejoined Bn, Serapeum, 6 March 1916; transferred to Pioneer Bn, 14 March 1916; taken on strength of 1st Pioneer Bn, 16 March 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 26 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 2 April 1916; granted leave, 15 May to 23 May 1916; rejoined unit from leave, 23 May 1916.

Killed in action, France, 26 July 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, CAREY George William

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