The AIF Project

George Kevin GATES

Regimental number5578
Place of birthWarwick, Queensland
ReligionRoman Catholic
Address328 Park Road, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation29
Height5' 7.5"
Weight142 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Annie Gates, 328 Park Road, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date17 November 1915
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit name1st Field Company Engineers, Reinforcement 14
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/20/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A54 Runic on 20 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollSapper
Unit from Nominal Roll15th Field Company Engineers
FateKilled in Action 21 July 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
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 20 January 1916; disembarked Suez, 27 February 1916.

Tken on strength, 15th Field Company Engineers, Tel el Kebir, 18 March 1916.

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

Reported Missing, 21 July 1916.

Fate subsequently determined as 'Killed in Action, 21 July 1916'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 1140913, 1542/1593 Pte R.J. FAGAN, 59th Bn (patient, 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital, Boulogne), 25 September 1916: 'Several men, of whom Crossington is one and J.O. Neil, now dead, is another[,] saw Gates lying under the German wire.'

Second statement, 3959 Sapper E.J. WILLIAMS, 15th Field Company Engineers (patient, 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, England), 18 August 1916: 'He was shot down - my mate Sapper Martin examined his body and found him dead. My mate andself were the only ones who got back.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsName entered incorrectly on Embarkation Roll as George Kerin GATES.
SourcesNAA: B2455, GATES George Kevin
Red Cross File No 1140913

Print format