Garnet Ronald DOWNER

Regimental number243
Place of birthGlebe, New South Wales
SchoolNorth Newtown Public School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationBush worker
AddressCambridge Road, Artarmon, North Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28
Height5' 10"
Weight163 lbs
Next of kinMrs A Downer, Cambridge Road, Artarmon, Wentworth, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 3 years in the Australian Rifles.
Enlistment date22 August 1914
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1st Battalion, B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/18/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board Transport A19 Afric on 18 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal

Refers Lone Pine.
Recommendation date: Unspecified

FateKilled in Action 28 June 1916
Age at death from cemetery records30
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: George Alfred and Clara DOWNER. Born at Glebe, New South Wales

Military Medal

'For outstanding courage and determination during the operations at Lone Pine, when he personally led a counter attack in company with Sergeant GELDING and succeeded in holding the trench by means of bombs.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62
Date: 19 April 1917

Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (Gallipoli Campaign), 5 April 1915.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 20 June 1915.

Promoted Temporary Corporal, 7 November 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria, 28 December 1915 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Promoted Sergeant, 13 January 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 22 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 28 March 1916.

On leave, 30 April 1916; rejoined Bn, in the field, 12 May 1916.

Killed in action, 29 June 1916.

Note on Form B103: 'Killed in action whilst on duty with a raiding Party, and his body has not been recovered.'

Handwritten entry on Form B1`03: Buried in vicinity of Delville Wood. Sheet 57.C. SW. S.17'.

Grave subsequently lost.

Medals: Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, DOWNER Garnet Ronald