The AIF Project

Ernest ABBEY

Regimental number1472
Place of birthBolton Percy, Yorkshire, England
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
AddressLancefield, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 8"
Weight156 lbs
Next of kinAnna Abbey, Lancefield, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date18 December 1914
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name8th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/25/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A46 Clan Macgillivray on 2 February 1915
Regimental number from Nominal Roll1317
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll60th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 November 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
169
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 5 April 1915.

Wounded in action, 25 April 1915 (gun shot wound, hip); transferred to Malta, and admitted to hospital, 4 May 1915; discharged from Convalescent Hospital, Tigne, 26 May 1915; returned to duty, Gallipoli, 24 June 1915.

Wounded in action (second occasion), 5 July 1915 (gun shot wound, scalp), and admitted to HS 'Gascon'; transferred to Malta, and admitted to Amberge de Baviere, 18 July 1915 (shrapnel wound to skull: serious); transferred to Ghain Tuffeha Camp, 18 August 1915.

Found guilty, 19 September 1915, of being in licensed premises ('Advance Bar'), Valetta), 8.45 pm, 14 September, contrary to Fortress Orders 21 May 1915: awarded 3 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Transferred to Egypt, and reported to Overseas Base, Mustapha, 30 September 1915.

Embarked Alexandria to rejoin the MEF, 18 October 1915; rejoined Bn, Gallipoli, 23 November 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria, 7 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Transferred to 60th Bn, 24 February 1916, and taken on strength, Duntroon Plateau.

Detached to School of Instruction, Zeitoun, for duty, 29 April 1916; rejoined Bn from detachment, 11 May 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 18 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 29 June 1916.

Wounded in action (third occasion), 19 July 1916 (gun shot wound); admitted to 25th General Hospital, 21 July 1916; transferred to No 1 Convalescent Depot, Boulogne, 27 July 1916; discharged to Base Details, 29 July 1916; rejoined Bn, in the field, 12 August 1916.

Promoted Corporal, 10 October 1916.

Killed in action, 20 November 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ABBEY Ernest

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