The AIF Project

Walter DICKINSON

Regimental number835
Place of birthHeathcote, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
AddressTooborac, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinFather, J J Dickinson, Tooborac, Victoria
Enlistment date5 January 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name21st Battalion, 15th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/38/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A9 Shropshire on 25 September 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll21st Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 March 1917
Age at death from cemetery records23
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
93
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John James and Elizabeth Mary DICKINSON, Tooborac, Victoria
Family/military connectionsBrother: 4404 Pte Archibald DICKINSON, 21st Bn, returned to Australia, 3 July 1917.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Statement, Red Cross File No 0920310F, 4405 Pte T.C. DOOLAN, D Company, 21st Bn (patient, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, Kent, England), 8 November 1917: 'I saw him killed opposite Langatte, near Vaux. He was caught in a crater on the Sunken Road by a shell and killed instantly. He was hit on the back of the neck. I knew him very well, he was the only man of that name in the Coy. and was a L/Cpl. at time of casualty. He had only just recently returned from Australia where he had been sent back from Egypt. He was buried at place of casualty, but owing to the fact that we had to retire, did not give us time to mark the grave.'

Second statement, 975 Pte E. NORWOOD, 29th Bn, 18 October 1917: 'I saw Casualty killed at Noreuil near Bapaume on the 20 March, 1917. Casualty was in a shell hole taking cover when he was killed by shrapnel. I was wounded by the same shell. There were 12 others killed by the same shell.'

Third statement, 5012 Pte G. EDSHALL, D Company, 21st Bn, 8 January 1918: 'I saw him killed instantly by a piece of shell. We were in a sniping position in a large crater at Noreuil. He was buried the same afternoon where he died. his mates formed the burial party. There was nothing erected to mark the grave as far as I know of.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesRed Cross File No 0920310F

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