The AIF Project

Francis COLLINS

Regimental number4391
Place of birthTimaru, New Zealand
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationLabourer
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation31
Next of kinFather, C Collins, 33 High Street, Timaru, New Zealand
Enlistment date30 August 1915
Place of enlistmentDubbo, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name20th Battalion, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/37/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on 9 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll20th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal


For conspicuous services as a runner during operations at Lagnicourt, when he worked uncessingly under heavy fire.
Recommendation date: 25 April 1917

Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 30 August 1915 - 20th Bn, 11th Reinforcements; taken on strength 20th Bn, 7 October 1916.
FateKilled in Action 3 May 1917
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death33
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
90
Medals

Military Medal

'During the operations on 15th April near LAGNICOURT Private COLLINS acted as a runner between Company headquarters and Battalion headquarters. At the start of operations he was thrown over by a shell but continued working without rest or food from 5 a.m. till relieved. He had to pass through Artillery barrages and was under constant Machine Gun fire. His devotion to duty was remarkable and greatly helped his C.O. to keep in touch with Company Headquarters during the whole of the operations.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 169
Date: 4 October 1917

Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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