The AIF Project

Paul Richard Eugene Napoleon Nicholas FALCK

Regimental number2457
Place of birthHelsingfors, Finland
SchoolReallyceum, Helsingfors, Finland
Age on arrival in Australia15
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height6' 0"
Weight173 lbs
Next of kinStep-Father, Captain F O Sjoman, Marieham, Finland
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date10 July 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name12th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/29/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A61 Kanowna on 24 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Machine Gun Battalion
FateKilled in Action 25 September 1918
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death25
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
Other details

War service: proceeded to Mudros from Alexandria, 4 December 1915. Disembarked Alexandria, 6 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force; disembarked Marseilles (dates not recorded). Transferred to 3rd Machine Gun Company, 5 May 1916. Found guilty, 15 July 1916, of conduct to the prejudice of good order and Military Discipline (insolence to an N.C.O.): awarded 72 hours Field Punishment No. 2. Found guilty, 14 October 1916, of drunkenness whilst on Active Service: awarded 72 hours Field Punishment No. 2.

Tried by Field General Court Martial, 28 October 1916, at Tricourt Camp, France; charge: 'Whilst on Active Service absenting himself w/o leave from 1.30 p.m. on 20-10-16 until noon 24-10-1916.' Pleaded 'Not Guilty'; found 'Guilty': awarded 60 days Field Punishment No. 1. Rejoined unit, 18 April 1917.

On leave to England, 30 August 1917; rejoined unit, 11 September 1917.

Wounded in action, 20 September 1917 (gas), and admitted to 6th Australian Field Ambulance; transferred to No. 10 Casualty Clearing Station, 20 September 1917; to 22nd General Hospital, Dannes, 21 September 1917 (mustard gas); to No. 6 Convalescent Depot, Etaples, 26 September 1917 (pleurisy); to Machine Gun Base Depot, Camiers, 16 October 1917; rejoined unit, 22 October 1917.

Found guilty, 16 November 1917, of (1) drunkenness, 15 November 1917; (2) discharging firearms without permission: awarded 28 days Field Punishment No. 2.

Admitted to 3rd Canadian General Hospital, Boulogne, 8 December 1917 (injured buttock); discharged to Base Details, 13 December 1917; rejoined unit, 2 January 1918. On leave to Paris, 24 February 1918; rejoined unit, 8 March 1918.

Wounded in action, 23 March 1918 (gas), and admitted to 64th Casualty Clearing Station; transferred to 59th General Hospital, St Omer,25 March 1918; to No. 7 Convalescent Depot, Boulogne, 8 April 1918; to No. 10 Convalescent Depot, 10 April 1918;rejoined unit, 17 May 1918. Appointed Lance Corporal, 23 June 1918.

Killed in action, 25 September 1918. No. 602 Pte E. JEWELL, 1st Machine Gun Bn, stated, 24 September 1918: 'He [FALCK] was in charge of a limber coming out of the line when he was killed instantly at Prial Farm near the Hindenburg Line, September 25th 1918 at about 10 p.m. He was hit by shell fire, I do not know exactly where. He was buried temporily [sic] at Prial Farm and after at Tincourt by the Pioneers. A cross would be erected. I did not see the grave nor did I see the body after he was hit, but am absolutely certain of casualty. I was No. 2 on his gun. He enlisted at Hobart, was of Finnish nationality. We called him Paul. I knew him very well. He was close to 6ft high, well built, blue eyes, neither dark nor fair complexion. About 27 or 28 years of age.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Print format