Archibald SPOWART

Regimental number5636
Place of birthNewcastle-on-Tyne, England
SchoolPublic School, New South Wales
Age on arrival in Australia3.4
ReligionChurch of England
AddressTyneside, 374 Young Street, Annandale, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 4.5"
Weight124 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Caroline Spowart, Tyneside, 374 Young Street, Annandale, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date15 March 1916
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name19th Battalion, 15th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/36/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 9 September 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll19th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 3 May 1917
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death18
Age at death from cemetery records18
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: George and Caroline SPOWART, 374 Young Street, Annandale, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 9 September 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 26 October 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 13 December 1916; taken on strength, 19th Bn, in the field, 23 January 1917.

Reported missing in Action, 3 May 1917.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 11 December 1917, pronounced fate as 'Killed in Action, 3 May 1917'.

Statement, Red Cross File No 259, 5688 Pte J. O'BYRNE, 19th Bn (patient, No 4 Australian General Hospital, Randwick), 30 December 1918: 'I went away with Spowart on 9th September 1915 by the s/s "Euripides" A14. He came from the Newcastle district. He was a Sailor. I knew him well. He was short and nuggety - 5' 5", very fair, clean shaved. He was only a boy. He was killed at Martenpuich 3rd May 1917. A shell hit him; he died instantly. He was buried at Matenpuich. A cross was put over his grave with his name and number on it. I was at his burial. I saw his grave. Spowart was a very good fellow.'

Grave subsequently lost.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, SPOWART Archibald
Red Cross File No 2590901