Regimental number2429
Place of birthSale, Victoria
SchoolSale State School, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
AddressSale, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18.8
Height5' 3"
Weight130 lbs
Next of kinFather, Thomas Martin, Sale, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 4 years in the Senior Cadets; still serving at time of AIF enlistment.
Enlistment date12 September 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name37th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/54/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 20 October 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll2429B
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll37th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 12 August 1918
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death20.7
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: Thomas and Ellen MARTIN, Sale, Victoria
Family/military connectionsEditor's note: Descendants wrote to the AIF Project to say that although the AIF Project listed his age at attestation as 18, 'the whole family' knew that he was only 16, a 'fact confirmed by the by the military who had written a large blue '16' on the front of his attestation form. A quick survey of other files put paid to this: one file had '97' written in large blue writing on the attestation form - hardly an indication of that particular man's age. The enquirer/complainant was not convinced: 'the whole family knows.' So it was pointed out that when the soldier was killed in action two years later, his father - surely in a position to know - said his age at death was 20, i.e. when he enlisted two years prior, he was 18. No, 'the whole family knows, and thank goodness my grandmother is not alive to read your offensive comments'. So the next step was to look up his birth certificate: he was born in 1898 and enlisted in 1916, making him 18 at the time. The correspondent's reply:'Stick to your records because this family have our facts and the word of his Brothers and Sisters. They are worth more than records.'
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 20 October 1916; transferred to HT 'Borda', Sierra Leone, 2 December 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 9 January 1917; marched into 10th Training Bn, 10 January 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 20 November 1917; taken on strength, 37th Bn, in the field, 29 November 1917, and allotted Regimental No 2429B.

Killed in action, 12 August 1918.

Buried in isolated grave, .75 mle S. of Proyart; 9.25 mls ESE of Corbie; grave subsequently lost.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, MARTIN Thomas