The AIF Project

Benjamin DALE

Regimental number833
Place of birthLondon, Kent, England
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFrench correspondent
Address109 Kingcross Road, London, WC, England
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 6.5"
Weight133 lbs
Next of kinSister, Nellie Dale, 109 Kingcross Road, London, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date12 February 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name19th Battalion, C Company
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT Ceramic on 25 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll19th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 3 May 1917
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
Town: Sydney, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsCousins: 950 Pte Frank Henry COLE, 22nd Bn, killed in action, 4 October 1917; 6237 Pte Wilfred Edgar COLE, 22nd Bn, died of wounds, 9 October 1917.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (Gallipoli Campaign), 16 August 1915.

Admitted to No 5 Australian Field Ambulance, Rest Gully, Anzac, 4 December 1915 (diarrhoea); discharged to duty, 5 December 1915.

Evacuated to hospital, 14 December 1915; admitted to No 87 Field Ambulance, Mudros, 18 December 1915 (debility); transferred to No 24 Casualty Clearing Station, Mudros, 7 January 1916; to Tower Camp, Mudros, 8 January 1916; to Helouan Convalescent Camp, Egypt, 31 January 1916; discharged to duty, 18 February 1916.

Rejoined 19th Bn, Moascar, 7 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 18 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 25 March 1916.

Admitted to No 14 Stationary Hospital, Wimereux, 1 April 1916 (mumps); transferred to No 5 Convalescent Depot, Wimereux, 23 April 1916; marched into 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot, 27 April 1916.

Promoted Acting Corporal (with pay), 4 October 1916.

Found guilty, 26 December 1916, of being out of bounds in Etaples, 22 December 1916: award, reduced to the rank of Private.

Rejoined 19th Bn, 28 December 1916.

Admitted to No 1/1 South Midland Casualty Clearing Station, 30 January 1917 (pyrexia of unknown origin); transferred to Ambulance Train, 31 January 1917; to No 2 General Hospital, Le Havre, 1 February 1917; to No 4 Convalescent Depot, 6 February 1917; marched into 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot, Etaples, 19 February 1917.

Rejoined unit, 8 March 1917.

Posted as missing in action, 3 May 1917.

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

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, DALE Benjamin
Red Cross File No 0870209Q

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