The AIF Project

William Duncan DARRACH

Regimental number369
Place of birthRockhampton, Queensland
OccupationSheep overseer
AddressWinton, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation26
Height5' 5.5"
Weight139 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs A.T. Darrach, Winton, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date24 April 1916
Place of enlistmentTownsville, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit nameMachine Gun Company 3, Reinforcement 5
AWM Embarkation Roll number24/8/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A73 Commonwealth on 19 September 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll369A
FateKilled in Action 21 April 1917
Age at death from cemetery records28
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 Temple and Amelia Thane DARRACH, Winton, Queensland. Born at Rockhampton, Queensland
Family/military connectionsBrother: 2132 Pte Alexander Thane DARRACH, 26th Bn, returned to Australia, 8 April 1919.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 19 September 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 14 November 1916; marched into Australian Details, No 3 Camp, Parkhouse, 15 November 1916.

Marched into Australian Machine Gun Training Depot, Grantham, 23 November 1916.

Admitted to Belton Park Hospital, 9 January 1917; marched into Australian Machine Gun Training Depot, Grantham, 24 January 1917.

Taken on strength of 22nd Machine Gun Company, 17 March 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 17 March 1917.

Promoted Lance Corporal, 29 March 1917.

Killed in action, 21 April 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, DARRACH William Duncan

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