The AIF Project


Regimental number3784
Place of birthHughenden, Queensland
ReligionChurch of England
AddressLandsborough, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation24
Height5' 6.25"
Weight135 lbs
Next of kinSister, Mrs Sazrah Ann Lowe, Prairie, Queensland
Previous military serviceCadets 2 months
Enlistment date10 September 1915
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name26th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/43/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A62 Wandilla on 31 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll31st Battalion
FateKilled in Action 21 July 1916
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

Taken on strength of 31st Bn, 6 April 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 17 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 25 June 1916.

Reported missing, 21 July 1916.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 1 August 1917, pronounced fate as 'Killed in Action, 21 July 1916'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 710405, 3862 Pte C. O'ROURKE, B Company, 31st Bn, 30 November 1916: 'He was killed on July 19 at Fleurbaix in the charge. I saw him fall, apparently killed outright.'

Second statement, 3862 Pte C. O'ROURKE, 31st Bn (patient, Beech House Military Hospital, Brondesbury, London, England), 31 January 1917: 'Informant states that on 19th July 1916 at Fleurbaix near Armentieres , he saw Caughey killed during an advance. Informant saw him lying in the same place and posture when he came back.'

Third statement, 3815 Pte W.E. HUNT, D Company, 31st Bn (patient, Horton County of London War Hospital, Epsom, England), 9 February 1917: 'I was informed by his mate Pte. O'Neill of A. Coy. that he was beside Caughey and saw him killed at Fleurbaix. This occurred on our own parapet just before making the charge in July last.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, CAUGHEY Rodger
Red Cross file 710405

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