The AIF Project

Alexander BREEN

Regimental number1400
Place of birthBowenvale, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18.2
Height5' 9"
Weight162 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs J Breen, Clunes, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed for 3 years in the Cadets.
Enlistment date13 November 1914
Place of enlistmentArarat, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name16th Battalion, 1st Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/33/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A35 Berrima on 22 December 1914
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll16th Battalion
FateReturned to Australia 6 September 1919

Military Medal

'These two men [BREEN and 34 William George CADWALLADER] were Battalion runners, during the operations north of POZIERES from 8th/12th August, 1916. It is impossible to speak too highly of their work; not merely once, but fully a dozen times each of them had to go through and did go through without hesitating enemy artillery, HE.E. and shrapnel barrages. They have been buried and rescue on several occasions. no risk was too great for them to take in order to maintain communication to the front line and the Signalling Section. They are both recommended for high distinction.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62
Date: 19 April 1917

Bar to Military Medal

'This man is again brought to notice for very gallant conduct. On the 5th April 1918, during an attack made by the enemy on our positions near HEBUTERNE. he constantly went through the enemy barrage repairing telephone wires. When one of his companions was fatally wounded, he remained with him in a very exposed position in the midst of the barrage area, until a stretcher was procured. he then carried on with his work and remained constantly in the open; exposed to Artillery fire for a period of five hours. During the whole period that the Battalion was in the line on this occasion, he displayed the same high standard of courage which has already won for him the Military Medal.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 1
Date: 2 January 1918

Discharge date3 November 1919
Family/military connectionsBrother: 1112 Pte Jack BREEN, 1st Machine Gun Bn, died as a result of accident, 6 April 1918.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Commenced return to Australia on board HT 'Euripides', 6 September 1919; discharged (termination of period of enlistment), Melbourne, 3 November 1919.

Medals: Military Medal & Bar, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, BREEN Alexander

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