The AIF Project

Frederick BOURNES

Regimental number2300
Place of birthTunbridge Wells, Kent, England
SchoolSt John's Elementary Boys' School, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Age on arrival in Australia30
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationStationer's assistant
Address188 Newcastle Street, Perth, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation37.8
Height5' 5"
Weight115 lbs
Next of kinFather, William Bournes, 1 Whitefield Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date24 May 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll21 June 1916
Place of enlistmentPerth, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name44th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/61/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A39 Port Macquarie on 13 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll44th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 July 1918
Place of death or woundingnr Hamel, France
Date of death4 July 1918
Age at death35
Age at death from cemetery records35
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
137
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William and Emma BOURNES, 1 Whitefield Road, Tunbridge, Wells, England
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Fremantle, 16 October 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 12 December 1916; marched into 11th Training Bn, 13 December 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 4 February 1917; marched into 3rd Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, 4 February 1917.

Proceeded to unit, 6 February 1917; taken on strength of 44th Bn, 8 February 1917.

On leave in the United Kingdom, 13 February 1918; rejoined unit, 1 March 1918.

Reported as Wounded in Action, 4 July 1918.

Personal Effects Certificate, 8 August 1918, shows Killed in Action; C.S.M. Quayle investigating.

Statement by C.S.M. Quayle, 24 August 1918, 'Soldier died before reaching Dressing Stn.'

Now, 28 August 1918, reported as 'Killed as Action, 4 July 1918'.

Note on B.103, 'Buried B4391'.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Statement, Red Cross File No 0470802L, 3147 Pte A.E. WEST, B Company, 44th Bn, 9 October 1918: 'I saw Bournes hit in the forehead by Machine Gun bullet, after we had reached our objective near Parewood? Hamel. I was wounded at the same time and went out to the D/S. When I went back to the Battn. about 5 weeks later, the boys told me that Bournes was carried out by Stretcher Bearers and buried by the roadside near the above village. Death was instantaneous.' Note by interviewer: He was quite clear upon the above, apart from the names of the villages, which he confirmed from another man.'

Second statement, 382 Corporal A.R. SPENCE, B Company, 44th Bn, 25 October 1918: 'I saw his body lying in our own trench at Hamel on July 4th. 1918 while a counter attack was going on. We captured all the Germans who were counter attacking. Bournes would be buried by own people.'

Third statement, 3546 Pte J.H. RICHARDS, 44th Bn (patient, War Hospital, Exeter, England), 9 October 1918: Bournes was killed by a machine gun bullet, he was hit between the eyes on July 4th 1918 in the Hamel stunt. Bournes was a great chum of Informants and when he enquired for him he heard the above. Ground was held. Informant cannot remember who told him. Death was instantaneous.' Note by interviewer: Intelligent.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, BOURNES Frederick
Red Cross File No 0470802L

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