The AIF Project

William DERRY

Regimental number3286
Place of birthNewmark, England
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28
Height5' 7.5"
Weight154 lbs
Next of kinBrother, 165 Stodman Street, Newark, Notts, England
Previous military serviceServed for 3 years Auxiliary Forces, Sherwood Rangers.
Enlistment date29 July 1915
Place of enlistmentCootamundra, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1st Battalion, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/18/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 5 October 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Battalion
FateKilled in Action 21 July 1916
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
28
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Town: Cootamundra, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 1st Bn, Tel el Kebir, 14 February 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 22 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 28 March 1916.

Attached to Trench Mortar Battery, 16 June 1916; rejoined Bn from detachment.

Killed in action, 21 July 1916.

Handwritten notes on Form B103: 'Buried. B1056 Sheet Y. Buried in vicinity of Contalmaison Sheet 57.D.SE.X.16 (sh 2).'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, DERRY William

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