The AIF Project


Regimental number2457
Place of birthKilrea, Co Londonderry, Ireland
SchoolKilrea School, Ireland
Age on arrival in Australia27
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation24
Height5' 8"
Weight144 lbs
Next of kinBrother, Sam Armstrong, Lusnagrat, Kilrea, Londonderry, Ireland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date16 July 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name24th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/41/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT RMS Osterley on 29 September 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll24th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 24 August 1916
Age at death29
Age at death from cemetery records29
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: Samuel and ann ARMSTRONG
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 29 September 1915; (no disembarkation details); marched in to Tel el Kabir, Egypt, 10 January 1916.

Admitted to 6th Field Ambulance and transferred to 2nd Australian Dermatological Hospital, 2 February 1916 (venereal disease: total period of treatment, 59 days); discharged from hospital, 3 April 1916.

Found guilty, 12 May 1916, of being absent without leave from 4:00 pm, 9 May to 2:00 pm, 10 May 1916: awarded forfeiture of 4 days' pay.

Proceeded to join British Expeditionary Force, Alexandria, 30 May 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 5 June 1916; joined Bn, 31 July 1916.

Killed in action, France, 24 August 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ARMSTRONG Robert

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