The AIF Project

James BOE

Regimental number1916
Place of birthStranraer, Wigtonshire, Scotland
SchoolStranraer Academy, Scotland
Age on arrival in Australia25
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation29
Height5' 8.25"
Weight160 lbs
Next of kinFather, J Boe, 15 Clenock Street, Stranraer, Scotland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date18 January 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name4th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/21/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A55 Kyarra on 13 April 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Light Trench Mortar Battery
FateKilled in Action 20 July 1916
Place of death or woundingChalk Pits, Pozieres, France
Age at death29
Age at death from cemetery records29
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 Elizabeth McColm BOE, 15 Clenoch Street, Stranraer, Scotland
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Joined 4th Bn at Gallipoli, 17 June 1915.

Wounded in action, 6-9 August 1915 (gun shot wound, left hand); admitted to HT 'Caledonia', 7 August 1915, and transferred to No 1 General Hospital, Helipolis, 10 August 1915; to No 3 Auxiliary Hospital, 10 August 1915; to Convalescent Camp, Helouan, 15 August 1915; to Base Details, Zeitoun, 24 August 1915; embarked Alexandria, 18 October 1915; rejoined 4th Bn, Gallipoli, 3 November 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria, 29 December 1915 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 23 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 30 March 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 21 April 1916.

Transferred to 1st Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery, 19 April 1916.

Killed in action, 20 July 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Personal belongings returned to next of kin included two chests, one containing approximately 90 tools, the other containing miscellaneous items, including six books on plumbing and a book of Burns' poems.
SourcesNAA: B2455, BOE James

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