|Place of birth||Thorndley-on-Lees, Yorkshire, England|
|School||Board School, England|
|Age on arrival in Australia||23|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Mount Morgan, Queensland|
|Age at embarkation||25|
|Next of kin||Wife, Mrs Isabella Wallace Cairns, Long Gully, Mount Morgan, Queensland|
|Previous military service||Nil|
|Place of enlistment||Rockhampton, Queensland|
|Rank on enlistment||Private|
|Unit name||52nd Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement|
|AWM Embarkation Roll number||23/69/3|
|Embarkation details||Unit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board SS Hawkes Bay on
|Regimental number from Nominal Roll||1627A|
|Rank from Nominal Roll||Private|
|Unit from Nominal Roll||52nd Battalion|
|Fate||Killed in Action
|Place of death or wounding||Longville Circus|
|Age at death||26.5|
|Place of burial||No known grave|
|Commemoration details||Australian 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|
|Parents: John and Jane CAIRNS; husband of Isabella W. CAIRNS, Town Range, mount Morgan, Queensland. Born in England|
War service: Western Front
Embarked Sydney, 20 April 1916; disembarked Suez, 24 May 1916.
Embarked Alexandria, Egypt, 6 June 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 16 June 1916.
Proceeded overseas to France, 16 September 1916; marched into 4th Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, 17 September 1916.
Proceeded to unit, 27 September 1916; taken on strength of 52nd Bn, 28 September 1916.
Killed in action, 26 January 1917.Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
|Sources||NAA: B2455, CAIRNS Ernest|