The AIF Project

Claude AYRE

Regimental number5328
Place of birthBungonia, New South Wales
SchoolCountry School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
AddressJerrard Creek via Marulan, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 7"
Weight150 lbs
Next of kinR. Ayre, Jerrard Creek, via Marulan, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date6 October 1915
Place of enlistmentGoulburn, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1st Battalion, 17th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/18/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A49 Ceramic on 14 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll53rd Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularHe was an only son.
FateKilled in Action 11 May 1917
Place of death or woundingnear Hindenburg Line, France
Age at death24
Age at death from cemetery records22
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: Mr R H and Mrs F A AYRE, Jerrard Creek, Marulan, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsUncle: 6/1111 Pte Charles AYRE, Canterbury Regiment, NZEF, killed in action, 26 April 1915.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 14 April 1916; disembarked Suez, 16 May 1916.

Reallotted to 14th Training Bn as Reinforcement to 53rd Bn, 20 May 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 21 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 29 June 1916.

Taken on strength, 53rd Bn, in the field, 22 July 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 1 November 1916.

Promoted Temporary Corporal, 23 December 1916.

Detached to Divisional Infantry School, 27 March 1917; rejoined Bn from detachment, 4 April 1917.

Killed in action, 11 May 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, AYRE Claude

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