William John DURHAM

Regimental number6799A
Place of birthBendigo, Victoria
SchoolBridport St State School, Albert Park, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationGrocers assistant
AddressMiddle Park, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Next of kinFather, C J Durham, 125 Neville Street, Middle Park, Victoria
Previous military serviceHe served 5 years (1912-1917) in Senior Cadets (Albert Park Training Area).
Enlistment date21 July 1917
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll18 July 1917
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name22nd Battalion, 20th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/39/5
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on 21 November 1917
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll22nd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 19 May 1918
Place of death or woundingVille-Sur-Ancre, France
Age at death19.6
Age at death from cemetery records19
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: Charles James and Eliza Grace DURHAM, 125 Neville Street, Middle Park, Victoria. Born at Bendigo, Victoria
Family/military connectionsCousin: 2810 Sergeant Charles James DURHAM, 14th Bn, killed in action, 13 May 1918; 15046 Staff Sergeant Compounder John Alfred Eric CRAWFORD, Australian Army Medical Corps, died on active service at sea, 16 June 1916; 13316 Sergeant Tamillas Robert MAPPIN MM, 4th Division Artillery [no details of fate recorded on Nominal Roll]..
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal