The AIF Project

Arthur James LANCASTER

Regimental number1975
Place of birthGalishead, England
ReligionChurch of England
Address396 Jones Street, Ultimo, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation28
Height5' 8"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs Eva Alice Lancaster, 396 Jones Street, Ultimo, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil (previously rejected for AIF enlistment in November 1914 on account of varicocele; 'these have now been removed')
Enlistment date29 January 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name2nd Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A55 Kyarra on 13 April 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll2nd Battalion
FateDied of wounds 25 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, Gallipoli, Western Front

Joined 2nd Bn, Gallipoli, 22 June 1915.

Wounded in action, 16 July 1915 (shrapnel wound, head); transferred to Hospital Ship from Casualty Clearing Station, 16 July 1915; disembarked Malta, 21 July 1915: admitted to Military Hospital, Cottonera, 28 July 1915.

Readmitted to Cottonera Hospital from Ricasoli, 25 August 1915.

Transferred to England, 2 September 1915, and admitted to County of London War Hospital, Epsom, 10 September 1915 (wound: severe).

Discharged to Weymouth Depot (date not recorded).

Found guilty, Weymouth, 20 November 1915, of being absent without leave, 9-19 November 1915: awarded 11 days' detention, and forfeited a total of 22 days' pay.

Embarked England, 23 February 1916; disembarked Alexandria from England, 5 March 1916.

Found guilty, 5 March 1916, of (1) being in town without a pass; (2) disobedience of orders; (3) not being in possession of an Identity Disc: awarded 28 days' detention.

Rejoined Bn, Serapeum, 11 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 22 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 28 March 1916.

Found guilty, 18 July 1916, of disobedience of orders in that he was absent from his billet without leave at 2345 and arrested at C Company Guard Room at 2345, 14 July 1916: awarded 14 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Wounded in action, 22-25 July 1915.

Died of wounds, 25 July 1916.

Buried 'in the vicinity of Pozieres'.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, LANCASTER Arthur James

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