The AIF Project

Walter Richard GILCHRIST

Regimental number208
Date of birth--/11/1869
Place of birthPaddington, New South Wales
Place of birthSydney
SchoolMarist Brothers High School, Sydney, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationEngineer surveyor
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Next of kinMrs Gilchrist, 'Brooklyn', Cremorne, Mosman, New South Wales
Enlistment date8 September 1914
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit name1st Field Company Engineers
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/20/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board Transport A19 Afric on 18 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollCaptain
Unit from Nominal Roll4th Division Engineers

2nd Lieutenant

Unit: ENG 2nd Div
Promotion date: 13 December 1915

Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Cross

'For conspicuous gallantry, devotion to duty and initiative at Pozieres as guide and in carrying out reconnaissance work.'
Recommendation date: 4 August 1916

Military Cross

'Valuable services as Staff Officer in furnishing prompt and reliable reports and a gallant and capable leader. Also valuable reconnaissance work.'
Recommendation date: 9 August 1916

FateKilled in Action 3 May 1917
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death28
Age at death from cemetery records27
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: Thomas and Mary GILCHRIST, "Brooklyn", Cremorne Road, Cremorne, New South Wales

Military Cross

'For conspicuous gallantry during operations. He reconnoitred positions under fire, gaining reliable and early information. He also guided up parties under fire.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62
Date: 19 April 1917

Family/military connectionsBrother: Lt Albert George GILCHRIST, 24th Bn, killed in action, 1 September 1918.

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