The AIF Project

Eric Edward COXON

Regimental number3125
Date of birth1892
Place of birthKateroy, Longreach, Queensland
SchoolNudgee College, Brisbane, Queensland
ReligionChurch of England
AddressLongreach, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation24
Next of kinMother, Mrs Emma Matilda Coxon, Elwell Prairie, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date9 September 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name47th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/64/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A64 Demosthenes on 22 December 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll57th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 5 April 1918
Place of death or woundingDernancourt Railway Embankment, FRance
Age at death25
Age at death from cemetery records26
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: James and Emma COXON, Elwell, Prairie, Queensland
Other details

Son of James Edward and Emma Matilda (nee Avery) Coxon

Before enlisting worked one of his father's holdings "Womera" near Muttaburra

Arrived at Plymouth, England on 4 March 1917. He marched to Codford for further training and on the 14 June 1917 embarked at Southampton for service in France. Landing at Havre he joined his unit and served in Belgium with the 47th Battalion from 7 July until the 26 January 1918. On 26th January he was detached for duty at the 2nd Army Sniping School, Mont des Cats, France, rejoining the 47th in France on 9 February 1918. Eric was killed in action during a battle at Dercot, near Albert, France, on 6 April 1918, when the battalion suffered incredibly high losses

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