The AIF Project

Joseph Patrick CRONIN

Regimental number4314
Place of birthSnowtown, South Australia
SchoolSnowtown Public School, South Australia
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressCoonalpyn, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Height5' 8.5"
Weight132 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs J Cronin, Coonalpyn, South Australia
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date25 August 1915
Place of enlistmentAdelaide, South Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name10th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/27/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A30 Borda on 11 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll50th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 16 August 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death19
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
Family/military connectionsBrother: 2144 Gunner Vincent Augustine CRONIN, 11th Field Artillery Brigade, returned to Australia, 12 May 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Allotted to and proceeded to join 50th Bn, 29 February 1916.

Taken on strength, 50th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 29 February 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 5 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 12 June 1916.

Reported missing in action, 16 August 1916; Court of Enquiry, 1 June 1917, declared fate as 'Killed in action, 16 August 1916'.

Handwritten note on Form B103: 'Buried at Mouquet Farm Sh 57D SE R33 B33'.

Statement, 4216 Pte A. LYALL, D Company, 50th Bn (patient, Graylingwell Hospital, Chichester, England), 24 October 1916: 'Informant states that on Aug. 16th, 1916, in front of Mouquet Farm, a whizz-bzng blew in a portion of the trench, burying several men including Cronin. Informant helped to dig out some of them but did not find Cronin.'

Second statement, 4140 Pte P. BEECHAM, 50th Bn (patient, 2nd London General Hospital, Southall, England), 27 November 1916: I knew him personally - was in the same Platoon. He was hot by a shell at Pozieres, and killed. Ryan, B.A., of the same Battalion was next to him and saw him killed. I can rely on Ryan's information to be correct.'

Third statement, 3197 Pte G.J. WATT, D Company, 50th Bn (patient, Woodcote Park Convalescent Hospital, Epsom, England), 19 October 1916: 'On August 14 between Pozieres and Mouquet Farm a small party of some 25 bombers including informant were cut off from main body and were located in a series of shell holes. Cronin acted as messenger between them, and the other troops. In crossing the "open" on one of these errands, he was shot dead. Informant saw this.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, CRONIN Joseph Patrick
Red Cross File No 08405021

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