The AIF Project

Arthur Joseph DAW

Regimental number20933
Place of birthRockhampton, Queensland
SchoolKelvin Grove School, Brisbane, Queensland
ReligionChurch of England
AddressKelvin Grove, Prospect Terrace, Brisbane, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 6.5"
Weight148 lbs
Next of kinFather, J Daw, Kelvin Grove, Prospect Terrace, Brisbane, Queensland
Previous military serviceServed for 2 years in the Cadets, Brisbane, Queensland
Enlistment date16 November 1915
Rank on enlistmentGunner
Unit name9th Field Artillery Brigade, 34th Battery
AWM Embarkation Roll number13/36(a)/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A8 Argyllshire on 11 May 1916
FateKilled in Action 3 May 1917
Place of death or woundingNoreuil
Age at death23
Age at death from cemetery records23
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: Joseph and Charlotte DAW, Kelvin Grove Road, Brisbane, Queensland
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 11 May 1916; disembarked Devonport, England, 10 July 1916.

Admitted to hospital, 1 December 1916 (mumps); rejoined unit from hospital, 15 December 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 30 December 1916; taken on strength, 9th Field Artillery Brigade, 6 January 1917, and posted to 47th Battery, 9 February 1917.

Killed in action, 3 May 1917.

Handwritten note on Form B103: 'Buried Just S.E. of Noreuil, 5 mls S.E. of Bapaume.'

Grave subsequently lost.

Statement, Red Cross File No 0891102L, 20917 Driver J. BEERDSWORTH, 12th Field Artillery Brigade (patient, 2rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England), 20 August 1917: 'Refer to Gunner G. Hunter, 42nd Batty. A.I.F. who is still in France, and who saw him killed, and helped to carry him in, and who can give full particulars of burial. He told me that he was killed at Death's Valley on the Somme by a premature explosion of a shell. Death was instantaneous.'

Second statement, 1304 Sergeant C. BARRETT, Fierld Artillery (patient, 1st London General Hospital, Camberwell, England), [?] August 1917: I knew Daw , he was killed at Noreuil Gully by a shell. He waswith the guns and while being shelled by the Germans was hit in the face on May 3, 1917. He was given a decent burial right opposite the Battery position ...'

Third statement, 1955 Gunner N.L. CAMPBELL, 12th Field Artillery Brigade, 15 August 1917: I did not see this man killed but he was killed by a premature [shell] from a gun behind our battery. When I saw him he was just alive but he only lived a few minutes. His grave is close to that of H.M. Mair, 255A, in the Gully which we called Death Gully in front of Noreuil.'

Fourth statement, 21420 Gunner E.J. STEWART, 12th Field Artillery Brigade (patient, 3rd Southern General Hospial, Oxford, England), 8 August 1917: I know that Gunner Daw ... was killed accidentally by the premature burst of a gun behind early one morning about May 3rd at the Gully behind Noreuil. He was buried there and I have seen his grave. We put a cross up with his name and particulars'.

Fifth statement, 3693 Sergeant C. BEAVIS, 12th Field Artillery Brigade (patient, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England), 26 July 1917: 'I saw him killed by a premature shell in a gully behind Noreuil. He was hit very badly in the thigh. I was about 20 yards away and I ran to him and he was dead. He was buried in the gully on the left hand side going towards Noreuil. I don't know if the grave is marked.'

Sixth statement, 1862 Gunner H.E. EVANS, 47th Battery, 12th Field Artillery Brigade, 25 July 1917: 'I was an eye-witness of this casualty. Daw was killed accidentally through the prematureexplosion of a shell from a gun in the Battery behind our gun pit during the attack at Bullecourt on May 3rd 1917. The accident occurred about 6.a.m. Daw was terribly injured, one leg was blown off and he had other severe wounds. He lingered a few minutes after being hit, but remained unconscious to the end. He was buried at Battery Pontcon (Death Gully) behind Noreuil. We put a cross with his name etc. on the grave.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, DAW Arthur Joseph
Red Cross File No 0891102L

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