The AIF Project


Regimental number1868
Place of birthWycheproof, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressBowden, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 4"
Weight114 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Julie Ryan, Port Road, Bowden, South Australia
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date16 August 1915
Place of enlistmentAdelaide, South Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name32nd Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/49/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A30 Borda on 11 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll15th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 9 August 1916
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: Egypt, Western Front

Allotted to and proceeded to join 15th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 6 March 1916.

Found guilty, Toussom, 9 May 1916, of (1) drunkenness, (2) using obscene language: admonished.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 1 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 8 June 1916.

Killed in action, 9 August 1916.

Statement, Red Cross File No 1131014B, 3813 Corporal W. MARTIN, 13th Bn, 30 April 1917: 'Knew a chap named Gardener of 15th Battn. and this No. Very small, about 8st. Came from South Australia with Reinfcts. which joined uop at Tel-el-Kebir. He was in "A" Company, Lewis Gun Section. The middle finger of one hand was missing. Know nothing of casualty, but have seen his grave at Pozieres towards Moukie [Mouquet] Farm. It is marked with a military pattern crest.'MBV
SourcesNAA: B2455, GARDENER Leslie
Red Cross File No 1131014B

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