The AIF Project

Joseph Mathews JEFFERSON

Place of birthMelbourne, Victoria
SchoolScots College, Sydney, New South Wales
Other trainingCaptain Senior Cadets, Sydney
ReligionChurch of England
Address137 Bellevue Street, North Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation25
Next of kinWife, Mrs Nora Marian Jefferson, 'Taravuka', Bellevue Street, North Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed as a Captain, Senior Cadets, Sydney, New South Wales
Enlistment date16 February 1916
Rank on enlistmentLieutenant
Unit name53rd Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/70/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A44 Vestalia on 11 July 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll53rd Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularHe was Secretary to the Associated Sawmillers of New South Wales. DO to Centennial Park Tennis Association
FateKilled in Action 10 May 1917
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)*Spelt Joseph Matthews Jefferson on NR
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death from cemetery records26
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: John Mathews and Emily Frances JEFFERSON, 123 Sussex Street, Sydney; husband of Mrs N. M. JEFFERSON
Family/military connectionsBrother-in-law to Brig General A.J. Bessell-Browns, CB, CMF, DSO, DSM, ADUD, Commanding 5th Divisional Artillery
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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