The AIF Project

George Collis PAINTIN

Regimental number54
Place of birthAshford Mill, Northleigh, Oxfordshire, England
SchoolChadbury County Council School, England
Age on arrival in Australia22
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 6.5"
Weight148 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Paintin, 9 Garden Road, Peckham Rye, London SE, England
Previous military serviceServed in the 19th Middlesex Regiment, Territorial Force, England.
Enlistment date20 August 1914
Place of enlistmentPontville, Tasmania
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name12th Battalion, Machine Gun Section
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Hobart, Tasmania, on board HMAT A2 Geelong on 20 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll3rd Machine Gun Company
FateKilled in Action 23 July 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death26
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

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 2 March 1915.

Promoted Lance Corporal, 30 May 1915.

Admitted to No 1 Australian Stationary Hospital, Mudros, 1 June 1915; rejoined unit, 11 June 1915.

Promoted Acting Sergeant, 18 June 1915; Sergeant, 1 July 1915.

Reverted to the ranks, 28 October 1915.

Admitted 3rd Field Ambulance, 24 November 1915, and transferred to No 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station; to HT 'Glenart Castle', 25 November 1915 (jaundice); disembarked Malta, 3 December 1915, and admitted to St Paul's Hospital; transferred to All Saints' Convalescent Camp, 18 December 1915; discharged to active service, 4 January 1916; rejoined unit, Tel el Kebir, 18 January 1916.

Taken on strength, 3rd Machine Gun Company, 13 March 1916.

Awarded 1st Class Machine Gun Qualified Instructor, Zeitoun School of Instruction, 18 March 1916.

Found guilty, 22 March 1916, of conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 29 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 5 April 1916.

Promoted Corporal, 4 July 1916.

Killed in action, 23 July 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsName incorrectly entered on Embarkation Roll as George Colles PAINTIN.
SourcesNAA: B2455, PAINTIN George Collis

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