The AIF Project

Percy John BABBS

Regimental number3795
Place of birthSt Pancras, London, England
SchoolCarlton Road LCC School, London
Other trainingRailway engineer
Age on arrival in Australia19
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarm labourer
AddressPerth GPO, Perth, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 9.5"
Weight124 lbs
Next of kinFather, John Babbs, 67 Queen's Crescent, Hampstead, London, England
Previous military serviceNil (previously rejeted on account of heart strain)
Enlistment date21 December 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll21 December 1915
Place of enlistmentPerth, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name28th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/45/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A28 Miltiades on 12 February 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll13th Light Trench Mortar Battery
FateKilled in Action 2 April 1917
Place of death or woundingnr Bullecourt, France
Date of death2 April 1917
Age at death from cemetery records26
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
19
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Mother: Mrs Annie M. BABBS, 16 Lady Somerset Road, Highgate Road, Kentish Town, London, England
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Joined 51st Bn, Serapeum, 2 April 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 5 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 12 June 1916.

Admitted to 1st Australian Rest Station, 15 August 1916 (neurasthenia); discharged to duty, 17 August 1916.

Transferred to 13th Light Trench Mortar Battery, 26 August 1916.

Killed in action, 2 April 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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