The AIF Project


Other NamesBerrol Lazer
Address67 Raglan Street, Mosman, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation24
Next of kinMother, Mrs A Mendelsohn, 67 Raglan Street, Mosman, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentLieutenant
Unit name17th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A23 Suffolk on 28 July 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll17th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 July 1916
Age at death from cemetery records25
Place of burialFromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery (Plot II, Row F, Grave No 2), France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Sali and Abbie MENDELSOHN, 'Berrol', Neridah Street, Chatswood, New South Wales. Native of Esk, Queensland. Spelt Berrol Lazar
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join unit, 9 September 1915; taken on strength of 17th Bn, Gallipoli, 17 September 1915.

Transferred to C Company, 28 November 1915.

Attached to 18th Bn, November 1915; rejoined unit, Moascar, 9 March 1916.

Allotted to 55th Bn from Infantry Details, Moascar, 3 April 1916; taken on strength of 55th Bn, Ferry Post, 3 April 1916.

Promoted Lieutenant, 30 May 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 29 June 1916.

Killed in action, 20 July 1916.

A report by the Commanding Officer of 55th Bn stated, 'Lieut. Mendelsohn was killed on the night of 19/20 July 1916 whilst in the German lines at Fromelles. Owing to Retirement [sic] his body was left there and not recovered. If buried by the Germans it will not be possible to ascertain position of grave, if marked, until such time as we advance into that portion of the line.'

Undated statement, Lt H.S. HILLIER, Adjutant, 55th Bn: 'Lieut. MENDELSOHN was killed in the German position during the attack on FROMELLES on the 20th July 1916. His body was never recovered.'

Translation of German report, 30 October 1919, 'Iden. Disc handed over by Intelligence Officer of the 6th Army Head Qrs. through Central Office from Deceased Estates, 12/10/16. Australian Soldier Lieutenant B. Mendelsohn, 55th Battn., fell in the neighbourhood of Fromelles on 19/7/16.'

Report from Australian Red Cross, Wounded and Missing Bureau, 18 October 1920, 'Medelsohn, B, Lt. 55 A.T.F. Fell 19.7.16 near Fromelles.'

In a letter from Base Records on 12 July 1926, it was noted, 'it is regretted no information is available respecting the actual burial location of the late Lieutenant B. L. MENDELSON, 55th Battalion.'

Note on Red Cross File No 1751309: 'The above name appeared on German death list dated 4-11-16.'

Statement, 2078 Pte H. McCARTNEY, 55th Bn (patient, 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, England), 2 January 1917: 'Both the above [MENDELSOHN and 3009 E.T. BOLT] were killed by shell during the advance at Fleurbaix near the German trenches on 20th. July.'

Second statement, 3004 Sergeant F.E. ARMSTRONG, 55th Bn, 24 December 1916: 'At about 2.30 a.m. he was shot through the head alongside me, whilst urging his men to greater effort. Death was instantaneous, I was myself wounded shortly after, but have ascertained that Lieut. Mendelsohn['] body was not removed from the trench, and was probably buried by the German's (sic).'

Third statement, 3098 Pte F. JOHNSTON, A Company, 55th Bn (patient, 4th Australian General Hospital, Randwick), 3 April 1917: 'I was with him on the night of 19.7.16 at Fleurbaix in the charge, when he was hit by a shell, and only lived a few minutes, and I saw him just before he died and again after he was dead. He did not seem to suffer. "He was a game man all right." This happened in the 3rd line of German trenches, and as we had to retire, his body would have been left in the German trench.' (Note by interviewer: 'A careful witness.')

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

Originally listed as 'No Known Grave' and commemorated at V.C. Corner (Panel No 11), Australian Cemetery, Fromelles; subsequently (2010) identified, and interred in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France.
SourcesNAA: B2455, MENDELSOHN Berrol
Red Cross File No 1751309

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