The AIF Project

Ernest CORBY

Regimental number5665
Place of birthGoulburn, New South Wales
SchoolPublic School, Tuena, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressRockdale, Tuena, via New Bridge, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation30.2
Height5' 6"
Weight150 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs C Corby, Rockdale, Tuena, via New Bridge, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date17 January 1916
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name3rd Battalion, 18th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/20/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A55 Kyarra on 3 June 1916
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll3rd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 14 April 1918
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death32.7
Age at death from cemetery records32
Place of burialOuttersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, France
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: Reuben and Catherine CORBY, 'Rockdale', Tuena, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 3 June 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 3 August 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 16 September 1916; taken on strength, 3rd Bn, in the field, Belgium, 29 September 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 13 May 1917.

Detached to Anzac Corps Infantry School, 16 June 1917; rejoined Bn, 19 July 1917.

Promoted Corporal, 12 October 1917.

On leave to United Kingdom, 22 October 1917; rejoined Bn from leave, 4 November 1917.

Killed in action, France, 14 April 1918.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Originally recorded as having no known grave. The remains of four Australian soldiers were unearthed by a French farmer in March 2003. Two of the men have been identified with a reasonable degree of certainty as Corby and [637] Lt Christopher CHAMPION. [DNA testing was not possible in the case of Champion because no surviving relatives could be traced.] The four soldiers were buried on 22 April 2005 in a ceremony attended by Chief of Army, LT General Peter Leahy.
SourcesNAA: B2455, CORBY Ernest

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