The AIF Project

Albert John EDWARDS

Regimental number2849
Place of birthMortlake, Victoria
SchoolState School
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationPlumber
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 7.5"
Weight149 lbs
Next of kinFather, John Edwards,Townsend Street, Mortlake, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date13 July 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll9 July 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentActing Corporal
Unit name21st Battalion, 6th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/38/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board RMS Moldavia on 5 October 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll2nd Pioneer Battalion
FateKilled in Action 5 May 1917
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death21
Age at death from cemetery records21
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
172
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John nd Annie EDWARDS, Campbell Street, Colac, Victoria
Family/military connectionsCousin: George Collins
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength of 21st Bn, Tel el Kebir, 7 January 1916.

Transferred to 2nd Pioneer Bn, 4 March 1916; taken on strength of 2nd Pioneer Bn, Moascar, 11 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 26 March 1916.

Promoted Lance Corporal, Rue Maire, 1 April 1916.

Promoted Corporal, 28 May 1916.

Wounded in action, 1 August 1916, and admitted to No 2 Australian Field Ambulance the same day (bomb wound, left leg); transferred to No 44 Casualty Clearing Station, 2 August 1916; to No 15 General Hospital, Boulogne, 2 August 1916; to No 1 Convalescent Depot, Boulogne, 5 August 1916; marched into 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, 11 August 1916.

Proceeded to unit, 28 September 1916; rejoined 2nd Pioneer Bn, Belgium, 30 September 1916.

Admitted to No 2 Australian Field Ambulance, 8 November 1916, and transferred the same day (dental).

Promoted Sergeant, 9 November 1916.

Discharged, 24 November 1918, and rejoined unit the same day.

Killed in action, 5 May 1917.

Note on B.103, 'buried in vicinity of Bullecourt'.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, EDWARDS Albert John

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