The AIF Project

Albert Ernest PRATT

Regimental number3099
Date of birth1893
Place of birthAuckland, New Zealand
ReligionChurch of England
AddressPeel Street, Kirribilli, North Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Height5' 9.75"
Weight148 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs M A E Pratt, Peel Street, Kirribilli Point, North Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in Grammar School Cadets and in College Rifles; member, North Sydney Rugby Rifle Club.
Enlistment date6 June 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1st Battalion, 10th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/18/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A69 Warilda on 8 October 1915
Regimental number from Nominal RollCommissioned
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll53rd Battalion

2nd Lieutenant

Unit: 53rd Battalion
Promotion date: 26 April 1916

FateKilled in Action 19 July 1916
Place of death or woundingFleurbaix, Fromelles, France
Age at death from cemetery records22
Place of burialFromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery (Plot I. Row E, Grave No 10), France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Henry and Matilda PRATT, Bega Road, Northbridge, North Sydney, New South Wales. Native of Auckland, New Zealand
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 1st Bn, Tel el Kebir, 6 January 1916.

Appointed Corporal, 11 January 1916.

Transferred to 53rd Bn, 13 February 1916, and taken on strength, 14 February 1916.

On Command, School of Instruction, Zeitoun, 4 March 1916; rejoined Bn, 25 March 1916.

Appointed Temporary Sergeant, 16 March 1916.

To be 2nd Lieutenant, 26 April 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 25 June 1916.

Killed in action, 19 July 1916.

Note on file, marked 'Major 53rd Battn': 'Lieut. Pratt was killed about midnight 19/20 July in the 2nd enemy line in front of FROMELLES. He was shot through the heart and died instantly. The position was retaken by the enemy next morning and the body was not recovered.'

Base records wrote to mother, 13 March 1925: '... I am now in receipt of advice that the Imperial War Graves Commission has been successful in recovering the remains of the later officer [A.E. PRATT] which have since been interred with every measure of care and reverence in the POZIERES BRITISH CEMETERY, Plot 3, Row H, Grave 12.'

Statement, Red Cross File No 2190905, 2nd Lt R.T. BATTLER, C (formerly A) Company, 53rd Bn (patient, 4th Australian General Hospital, Randwick), 15 February 1918: 'I knew Pratt. We called him Bert, but his initials were "A.E." and he transferred from 1st Battalion. He was killed at Fleurbaix on 19-7/16, and his belongings have been returned with full particulars to his mother ... I cannot furnish any details of his death, except that I know he died on the field.'

Second statement, 3169 Pte J.H. DEAN, B Company, 53rd Bn, 24 August 1916: 'I knew Mr. Pratt; he was a 2 Lt. in B. VII. and I saw him fall in the 2nd. line of German trenches at Fleurbaix, on 19.7.16, and he only lived a few minutes and I stayed with him until he died. We laid him at the back of the trench. I think he was hit in the upper part of the chest. He did not speak, nor did he seem to suffer. I think he was unconscious. I am quite sure he was dead and that it was he. He was my platoon commander. We retired from this trench at 10.30 the next morning but there was no chance of recovering his body ... '

Third statement, 4839 Pte J.J. PRITCHARD, B Company, 53rd Bn, 28 August 1916: 'I knew Mr. Pratt; he was in No. 9 Section of B. VII. and he was shot through the chest on the night of 19th. July at Fleurbaix in a German trench. I carried him from where he was shot into a trench that I thought would be safe. I was with him until he died. He only lived about ½ hour and was unconscious all the time and I covered his body with a bomber's apron. We were driven out about 2 hours later and as we were being surrounded I had to leave his body there. He did not suffer nor did he regain consciousness.'

Fourth statement, 2380 Corporal W.T. JACKSON, 53rd Bn, 9 February 1917: 'I knew Mr. Pratt ... I was wounded on about midnight of 19.7.16 at Fleurbaix and spoke to him as I was being carried out and immediately afterwards I saw him clasp his forehead with his hand and fall. I am sure it was Mr. Pratt ... This happened in the German second line of trenches ... It was moonlight at the time, but I am sure it was Mr. Pratt I saw fall.'

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

Originally mistakenly commemorated in the Pozieres British Cemetery. Subsequently commemorated at VC Corner Australian Cemetery, Fromelles. Identified in 2010 and interred in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France.
SourcesNAA: B2455, PRATT Albert Ernest
Red Cross File No 2190905

Print format    

© The AIF Project 2024, UNSW Canberra. Not to be reproduced without permission.