The AIF Project

Elson Robert ACLAND

Regimental number6216
Place of birthKatoomba, New South Wales
SchoolKatoomba Public School, New South Wales
Address'Ardmoor', Wilson Street, Katoomba, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 5.5"
Weight121 lbs
Next of kinFather, Mr Alfred Albert Acland, Hill Street, Gosford, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 7 years in the Senior Cadets (Compulsory Training Scheme) and in 41st Infantry, Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date25 January 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll25 January 1916
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name4th Battalion, 20th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/21/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 9 September 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll4th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 6 May 1917
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Date of death6 May 1917
Age at death20.8
Age at death from cemetery records22
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: Alfred Albert and Sarah Eliza ACLAND, Hill Street, Gosford, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 9 September 1916; admitted to ship's Isolation Hospital at sea, 23 September 1916; discharged, 18 October 1916; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 26 days; disembarked Plymouth, England, 26 October 1916, and marched in to 1st Training Bn.

Found guilty, No 2 Camp, Fovant, of being absent without leave from 6 am to 1 pm, 21 November 1916: awarded 3 days' Field Punishment No 2, and forfeited a total of 4 days' pay.

Proceeded overseas to France, 8 February 1917; taken on strength, 4th Bn, in the field, 13 February 1917.

Killed in action, France, 6 May 1917.

Handwritten note on Form B103: 'Buried in Vicinity of Bullecourt Sh 51B SW.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ACLAND Elson Robert

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