The AIF Project

Walter Maund COLLEY

Regimental number3787
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales
SchoolIthaca Creek State School, Queensland
ReligionChurch of England
AddressCelia Street, Grove Estate, Brisbane, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Height5' 6"
Weight130 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Alice Colley, Celia Street, Grove Estate, Brisbane, Queensland
Previous military serviceServed in the Queensland Rifles.; Served for 3 years in the Queensland Rifles.
Enlistment date10 September 1915
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Qld
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name26th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/43/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A62 Wandilla on 31 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll12th Machine Gun Company
FateKilled in Action 6 August 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death26
Age at death from cemetery records26
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: James and Alice COLLEY, Elston Terrace, Red Hill, Brisbane
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Admitted to 3rd Australian General Hospital, Abbassia, 23 March 1916 (pyrexia); transferred to Red Cross Convalescent Depot, Montasah, 1 April 1916; discharged to duty, 17 April 1916. Transferred to 4th Division Machine Gun Companies, 27 May 1916.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 7 June 1916; taken on strength, 12th Brigade Machine Gun Company, 22 July 1916.

Killed in action, 6 August 1916.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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