The AIF Project

Horace Samuel BLACKBURN

Regimental number3657
Date of birth1893
Place of birthSingleton, New South Wales
SchoolErskinsville Public School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationClerk
Address69 Watkin Street, Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation22
Next of kinWife, Mrs Essie Blackburn, 69 Watkins Street, Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales
Enlistment date10 August 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A60 Aeneas on 20 December 1915
Regimental number from Nominal Roll3651
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll55th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 July 1916
Place of death or woundingFleurbaix, France (Battle of Fromelles)
Age at death23
Age at death from cemetery records22
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsV.C. Corner (Panel No 11), Australian Cemetery Memorial, Fromelles, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
160
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Herbert and Cathrine BLACKBURN; Wife: Essie BLACKBURN, 126 Lord Street, Newtown, New South Wales
Other details

War service: embarked Sydney, 20 December 1915; disembarked Egypt; joined 5th Training Bn. Allotted to and proceeded to join 55th Bn, AIF, Zeitoun, Egypt, 16 February 1916.

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

Reported as Missing in Action, 20 July 1916. Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 26 July 1916, pronounced fate as 'Killed in Action'.

Two soldiers later gave evidence bearing on his fate. 3654 Lance Corporal C.S. WATSON, 55th Bn, said: 'Blackburn, called Harry, was in D Company and was killed on July 19th at Bois Grenier. Our Division was in it and the 55th were on fatigue, carrying ammunition, etc. I saw Blackburn lying dead in the trench, and afterwards I saw his grave at Sailly, in the Cemetery on the right hand side of the road going from Sailly to Estaires.' (Evidence given at Boulogne, 5 April 1917.) 3058 Pte D.L. GAY said: 'He was in D.X111 and I saw him in "No Man's Land" on 19/7/16 about half way between the lines. This was about 150 yards from our trench. I was about 50 yards away at the time but I could recognise him. He was hit, I think, in the shoulder by a machine gun, but I do not think it was a very severe wound and he lay down in a shell hole on his way back. This shell hole was about 150 yards from our trenches. He was about 5ft.6in thick set, dark and came over from Australia as a Reinforcement to the 17th Battalion.' (Evidence given at 5th Australian General Base Depot, Etaples, 17 August 1916.)

Statement, 194 Sergeant L.C. WOOD, 55th Bn (patient, No 9 Red Cross Hospital, Calais), 19 October 1916: 'He was shot in the shoulder in "No Man's Land". He got up and went into a gutter and has not been heard of since. His wound was not very bad and one of the boys attended to him. He may have been hit since.'

Second statement, 252 Pte C. KENTS, 55th Bn (patient, No 14 General Hospital, Boulogne), 4 April 1917: The 55th were acting as carriers on July 19th at Fromelles. My section as carrying sandbags. We had just got through our barbed wire when a M.G. opened and got 8 out of 13 men. This was about 6 p.m. Blackburn was shot through the knee and the chest. He said he would crawl back, but I think he couldn't live. He was not seen again.'

Note on file: 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills 10.10.19.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

SourcesNAA: B2455, BLACKBURN Horace Samuel
Red Cross File No 401001

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