The AIF Project

Alfred William John LAYBURN

Regimental number5117
Place of birthSawyer's Bay, near Dunedin, New Zealand
SchoolChristian Brothers' School, Dunedin, New Zealand
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationWool buyer
Addressc/o Mr C Bliss, Upper Diamond Creek, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Height5' 8.75"
Weight127.5 lbs
Next of kinFather, John Layburn, Andersons Bay Road, Dunedin, New Zealand
Previous military serviceNil (previously rejected for enlistment in Australia)
Enlistment date1 December 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name22nd Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/39/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A33 Ayrshire on 3 July 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll22nd Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal

'Work at Broodseinde on 4 October 1917.'
Recommendation date: 14 October 1917

FateKilled in Action 28 August 1918
Place of death or woundingSomme, France
Age at death30
Age at death from cemetery records28
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: John and Jane LAYBURN

Military Medal

'For conspicuous courage and devotion to duty on 4th October, 1917, at BROODSEINDE and during subsequent opertiions. This man acted as a runner and made many trips with despatches under very heavy shell fire. lthough twice buried and physically exhausted with exposure and fatigue he remained on duty in spite of the fact that he had been given permission to report to the nearest dressing station for medical attention.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 76
Date: 23 May 1918

Family/military connectionsBrother: 40152 Ernest Thomas LAYBURN, NZEF
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, LAYBURN Alfred William John

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