The AIF Project

Ernest Roger KELLY

Regimental number7492
Place of birthFremantle, Western Australia
Place of birthNorth Fremantle, Western Australia
SchoolState School, North Fremantle, Western Australia
AddressNorth Fremantle, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 5.5"
Weight134 lbs
Next of kinFather, Andrew Kelly, Harvest Road, North Fremantle, Western Australia
Previous military service85B (3 weeks, still serving)
Enlistment date31 January 1917
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll25 January 1917
Place of enlistmentPerth, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name16th Battalion, 25th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/33/6
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A30 Borda on 29 June 1917
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll44th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 July 1918
Age at death from cemetery records23
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: Andrew and Mary Elizabeth KELLY, Harvest Road, North Fremantle, Western Australia
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Fremantle, 29 June 1917; disembarked Plymouth, England, 25 August 1917; marched into 4th Training Bn, Codford, 26 August 1917.

Marched into 13th Training Bn, Codford, 3 November 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 4 December 1917; marched into 3rd Australian Divisional Base Depot, Rouelles, 5 December 1917.

Proceeded to unit, 9 December 1917; taken on strength of 44th Bn, in the field, 10 December 1917.

Killed in action, 4 July 1918.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Statement, Red Cross File No 1490101G, 400 Sergeant W.C. CLARK, B Company, 44th Bn, 1 May 1919: 'I didn't see Kelly and [2169 W.E.] Wise (both of B. Co) killed by shell during the Hamel stunt and quite near the objective abt. 7 a.m. Grace was killed at the same time. It was on the left of Acroches Hill. I don't know where they were hit. They were buried near Vaux-sur-Somme.'

Note on file: 'Killed in action 4-7-18 - buried sheet Bayonvillers Ed.t.L.1/20000 P.10.C.30.50 about 500 yards E. of Hamel.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, KELLY Ernest Roger

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