The AIF Project

Reginald Alexander BEAN

Regimental number719
Place of birthWangaratta, Victoria
SchoolState School, Flemington, Victoria
OccupationCar builder
AddressDavie Street, Moonee Ponds, Melbourne, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 4"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Annie Bean, Davie Street, Moonee Ponds, Melbourne, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date5 August 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll22 July 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name31st Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/48/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A62 Wandilla on 9 November 1915
31st Battalion Headquarters and Companies A, B, C and D sailed on two ships, HMAT A62 Wandilla, 9th November 1915 from Melbourne, and HMAT A41 Bakara, 5 November 1915, from Melbourne. It is not possible to tell from the Embarkation Roll on which ship an individual embarked.
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll31st Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 5 August 1915; served in Egypt and France.
FateKilled in Action 21 July 1916
Place of death or woundingFleurbaix, France (Battle of Fromelles)
Date of death21 July 1916
Age at death23
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: Alexander and Annie BEAN, 214 Bell Street Coburg, Victoria. Born at Wangarata, Victoria
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Disembarked Suez, ex-H.M.T. 'Wandilla', 7 December 1915.

To hospital, 12 May 1916; admitted to No 15 Australian Field Ambulance, Ferry Post, 13 May 1916 (chronic synovitis); transferred to No 82 Acting Casualty Clearing Station, Ferry Post, 15 May 1916; to No 1 Australian Stationary Hospital, 15 May 1916 (injury, left ankle); to No 3 Auxiliary Hospital, Tel el Kebir, 23 May 1916; proceeded to and rejoined 31st Bn, Ferry Post, 25 May 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 17 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 25 June 1916.

Reported missing, 21 July 1916.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 1 August 1917, pronounced fate as 'Killed in Action, 21 July 1916'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 291002, 713 Sergeant G.W. JENNINGS, C Company, 31st Bn, 30 January 1917: 'I saw him badly wounded in the head on the 19th July at Fleurbaix past the front German trench.'

Handwritten note on Form B103: 'Buried at Fleurbaix VR 13 (sh 1)'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsMother's address subsequently, 214 Bell Street, Cobury, Victoria (4 October 1920); then 43 Lyle Street, Brunswick, Victoria (14 December 1920); then 10 Calinda Road, Essendon (8 November 1922)
SourcesNAA: B2455, BEAN Reginald Alexander
Red Cross file 291002

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