The AIF Project

James Daniel O'BRIEN

Regimental number2467
Date of birth27 May 1888
Place of birthAlberton, South Australia
SchoolAlberton State School, South Australia
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressAlberton, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation28
Next of kinMother, Mrs Agnes Helena O'Brien, Queen Street, Alberton, South Australia
Enlistment date14 July 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name48th Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/65/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A68 Anchises on 28 August 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll2467A
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll48th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularInitially reported as missing, he was later declared killed in action on 11th April 1917 and was buried at Reincourt, France.
FateKilled in Action 11 April 1917
Place of death or woundingReincourt, France
Age at death28.10
Age at death from cemetery records28
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: Patrick and Agnes Helena O'BRIEN, Queen Street, Alberton, South Australia
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 352 Pte Thomas Joseph O'BRIEN, 52nd Bn, died of wounds, 7 June 1917; Lt William O'BRIEN, 27th Bn, killed in action, 9 April 1917; Able Seaman David L. O'BRIEN (b. Alberton, 4 April 1896; enl. RAN, 1913; emb. on declaration of war, 4 August 1914; war service: New Guinea, Samoa, North Sea, HMSA 'Australia' [1915-1917]; discharged, December 1917).
Other detailsWar service: France. Severely wounded, Bullecourt, 11 April 1917: refused to leave his mate, who was wounded in the leg; after assisting him to safety, he died of his own wounds at Reincourt on the same day.

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