The AIF Project

Arthur John DAY

Regimental number3131
Place of birthBendigo, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationRailway employee
AddressWarrnambool, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 7.5"
Weight125 lbs
Next of kinFather, John Day, Railway Station, Warrnambool, Victoria
Previous military serviceCadet Forces (4 years); 48th Infantry
Enlistment date19 September 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll18 September 1916
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name58th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/75/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A7 Medic on 16 December 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll58th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 July 1918
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
165
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Mary Ellen DAY, 198 Timor Street, Warrnambool, Victoria
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 16 December 1916; promoted Corporal (voyage only), 16 December 1917; disembarked Plymouth, 18 February 1917; marched into 15th Training Bn, Hurdcott, 18 February 1917, and reverts to the rank of Private the same day.

Promoted Acting Corporal, 18 May 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 25 June 1917; marched into 5th Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, 26 June 1917, and reverts to the rank of Private the same day.

Proceeded to unit, 17 July 1917; taken on strength of 58th Bn, in the field, 20 July 1917.

Admitted to No 6 Australian Field Ambulance, 26 September 1917 (not yet diagnosed); transferred to No 15 Casualty Clearing Station, 27 September 1917 (shell shock); to Ambulance Train, 1 October 1917; to No 7 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples, 1 October 1917; to No 26 General Hospital, 2 October 1917; to No 6 Convalescent Depot, Etaples, 5 October 1917; discharged, 9 December 1917; marched into 5th Australian Divisional Base Depot, Le Havre, 11 December 1917.

Proceeded to unit, 16 December 1917; rejoined unit, 19 December 1917.

Admitted to No 14 Australian Field Ambulance, 23 April 1918 (appendicitis); transferred to No 20 Casualty Clearing Station, 24 April 1918 (bronchial catarrh); to No 11 Stationary Hospital, Rouen, 25 April 1918; to No 2 Convalescent Depot, Rouen, 30 April 1918; to No 1 Australian Convalescent Depot, Le Havre, 1 May 1918; marched into Australian Intermediate Base Depot, Le Havre, 10 May 1918.

Proceeded to unit, 17 May 1918; rejoined unit, 2 June 1918.

Killed in action, 4 July 1918.

Reported by Reverend C. Hall, attached 58th Bn, 'buried at [Sheet] 62D E.26 C.55.15'.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Statement, Red Cross File No 0900503H, 3240 Pte G. ROBERTSON, D Company, 58th Bn (patient, Bath War Hospital, England), 2 October 1918: 'Day was killed outright by a shell at Villaieronge [sic] during the early morning on July 4th. He was buried on the ground. I did not bury him but I knew him well.' Note by interviewer: Reliable.

Second statement, Lt H.D. WILLIS, D Company, 58th Bn, 6 September 1918: 'He was in D. Co. and I know his initials. He was killed by shell fire instantaneously on 4th. July at Ville-sur-Ancre at about 5 a.m. I did not see the casualty happen. He was buried near a road about 400 yards from Ville-sur-Ancre, on the way to Dernancourt, not in a cemetery. I have seen his grave - a cross was erected with his name etc. on. No padre officiated at the burial, the spot being right on our objective.

Third statement, 2382 Pte F. HINDE, D Company, 58th Bn, 4 October 1918: 'Informant gave correct initials. He was attached to H.Q. On July 4th, the 58th. were in a train coming down the line. We were shifting from one front to another. Early in the morning we got to St. Pol, between Doullens and Hazebrouck, when a few long range shells got our train, blowing up two trucks. Day and 20 others were hit. Day was killed outright. He was literally blown to bits. I saw it happen. One of our S/Bearers, remained behind to bury those killed that morning. The graves were about 100 yards from the station. They had crosses put on the graves. The S/Bearer Private, Treloar of A Company told me he'd done them.'

Fourth statement, 2672 Pte W.S. HINE, C Company, 58th Bn (patient, 1st London General Hospital, England), 16 October 1918: 'Day was killed at Hazebrouck in Belgium. He was in a dugout and a shell burst inside, killing him and two other men besides. We saw the shell fall and went in at once to see if we could be of any assistance, but the three men were dead. (they were all blown to pieces) The ground was held.' Note by interviewer: Reliable.

Fifth statement, 1991 Pte M.J. BOHAN, 58th Bn (patient, 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, England), 17 October 1918: Ville-Sur-Ancre. Killed by a bomb at once. We were making an attack on a German trench. He was killed almost as soon as we got to the trench. Saw him killed - I knew him well.'

Sixth statement, 1430 Pte S. TRELOAR MM, 58th Bn, 7 November 1918: 'I see by the Battalion that he was buried but it did not say where he was buried. They only had the Map Reference and that is Map Sheet 62 D. F 26 C. 55. 15 ... I did not know him myself but I asped a stretcher bearer of that Company and he said that he did and knew his number and said that he was buried in front of our trenches and there was no Cross up on his grave when we left, that sector.'

Seventh statement, 3238 Lance Corporal E.R. WARD, D Company, 58th Bn, 10 November 1918: 'I saw his body after he was killed by shell in "No Man's Land" at Villers sur Ancre on July 4th. 1918, daylight. We had taken our objective and held it. I helped to put his body in a shell hole intending to bury him that night, but we were relieved by the 57th Battalion and they would bury our dead.'

Eighth statement, 3229 Pte W.C. STEIN, 58th Bn, 6 March 1919: 'I knew Casualty ... Casualty was on a Machine Gun Team at Ville sur Ancre. I was a Stretcher Bearer. A H.E. Shell exploded near Casualty, killing him instantly. I was about 200 yards away at the time the shell exploded but I found his body later in the open field. He was most severely wounded in the head and he was buried where he fell in the advance. A cross was erected over his grave with his name, number and unit on it.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: 2455, DAY Arthur John
Red Cross File No 0900503H

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