The AIF Project

John George COSSON

Regimental number2454
Place of birthBarnes, England
SchoolState School, Western Australia
Other trainingNil
Age on arrival in Australia8
ReligionChurch of England
AddressHill Street, East Fremantle, Western Australia
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation44
Next of kinWife, Mrs E Cosson, Hill Street, East Fremantle, Western Australia
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date12 May 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name16th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/33/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A51 Chilka on 18 June 1915
Regimental number from Nominal RollCommissioned
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll48th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Mention in Despatches

Awarded, and promulgated, 'London Gazette', fourth Supplement, No. 29664 (11 July 1919); 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 176 (30 November 1916)

Other details from Roll of Honour CircularWounded at Lone Pine, Gallipoli 7 August 1915; killed in action Pozieres, France 7 August 1916. He was one of the last 22 men to leave Gallipoli during evacuation. Won DCM when a Pte in 16th WA Btn.
FateKilled in Action 7 August 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death50
Age at death from cemetery records45
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: David and Eliza COSSON; husband of Elizabeth COSSON, 133 Cochrane Street, Elstenwick, Victoria

Distinguished Conduct Medal

'For conspicuously good work by day and night as a patrol leader.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette'
Date: 21 September 1916

Family/military connectionsNephews: 2437 Pte Frederick Arthur KINSEY, 57th Bn, died of wounds, 23 March 1918; 5557 Pte Arthur COSSON, 22nd Bn, returned to Australia, 16 March 1918; 5363 Pte Harry COSSON, 59th Bn, accidentally killed, 1 July 1916.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Medals: Distinguished conduct Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Print format