The AIF Project

Charles FINLAYSON

Regimental number4191
Place of birthClemenston, Victoria
SchoolClemenston State School, Victoria
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationLabourer
AddressEastern Hill, Creswick, Victoria
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation22.4
Next of kinWife, Mrs C Finlayson, Eastern Hill, Creswick, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date29 July 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name14th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/31/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A64 Demosthenes on 29 December 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll4th Machine Gun Company
FateDied of wounds 11 April 1917
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death25
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
177
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Donald and Elizabeth FINLAYSON; Wife: Connie FINLAYSON, 'The Clyde', Creswick, Victoria
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Joined 14th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 4 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 1 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 8 June 1916.

Transferred tp 4th Australian Machine Gun Company, 8 October 1916.

Reported missing in action, 11 April 1917.

Now, 15 July 1917 reported died of wounds, 11 April 1917.

Burial recorded; grave subsequently lost.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, FINLAYSON Charles
Red Cross File 1060411D

Print format