The AIF Project

Frank Valentine GRACIE

Regimental number1041
Place of birthMelbourne, Victoria
SchoolClyde North State School No 118, Victoria
AddressCanning Road, East Fremantle, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation29
Height5' 5"
Weight146 lbs
Next of kinStepfather, J H Gracie, Canning Road, East Fremantle, Western Australia
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date26 April 1915
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name25th Battalion B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/42/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A60 Aeneas on 29 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll9th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 August 1916
Age at death from cemetery records30
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
Commemorated on Clyde North State School No 118 Roll of Honor (now in Cranbourne RSL, Victoria). See "HERRING" the true family name. Son of Gertrude Townsend (formerly HERRING), 92 Barkly Street, Carlton, Victoria, and the late Charles HERRING
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 4 September 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria from Mudros, 9 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Found guilty, Tel el Kebir, (1) of being absent without leave from 2200, 21 January, until 1200, 25 January 1916; (2) 21 January 1916, of disobeying an order from his Superior Officer: awarded 28 days' detention.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force 14 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 19 March 1916.

Found guilty by Field General Court Martial, 29 March 1916, of when in confinement escaping; awaiting trial 28 days: awarded 28 days' Field Punishment No 2. GOC, Army Corps, ordered charged of absent without leave to be quashed, and sentence altered, 30 March 1916.

Found guilty, 6 May 1916, of being absent without leave 11 am-9.30 pm, 6 May 1916: awarded 28 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Found guilty, 16 July 1916, of being absent without leave on 29 & 30 June, 1,2,3 July 1916: sentenced to 2 years' imprisonment with hard labour.

Killed in action, 4 August 1916.

Note on Red Cross File: 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills. 10.10.19.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsBorn Frank Valentine HERRING; adopted his step-father's surname.
SourcesNAA: B2455, GRACIE Frank Valentine
Red Cross File No 12001059

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