The AIF Project

Henry Robert BURKE

Regimental number64
Place of birthBelfast, Co Antrim, Ireland
AddressPost Office, Thirroul, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 6.5"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs E Y McGowan, Post Office, Thirroul, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the 4th Royal Fusiliers, British Army; purchased discharge; 37th Infantry.
Enlistment date17 August 1914
Place of enlistmentSydney, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name3rd Battalion, Machine Gun Section
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 20 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll3rd Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 17 August 1914. Taken on strength, 3rd Bn, 21 August 1914. Appointed Driver, 1 June 1915. Reverted to Private, 20 September 1916.
FateKilled in Action 3 November 1916
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)*Given name Henry
Place of death or woundingFlers, France
Age at death22
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
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked, Sydney, 20 October 1914; embarked to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 5 April 1915; rejoined 3rd Bn from Command, Anzac, 12 May 1915; promoted to Driver, Maadi, 1 June 1915.

Found guilty, Mustapha, 7 September 1915, of (1) being absent without leave from 9:30 pm, 5 September 1915, until midnight, 5 September 1915: awarded 7 days' detention.

Discharged to Base Details, 24 September 1915; transferred to 1st Infantry Brigade details, Maadi, 3 November 1915.

Found guilty, 15 December 1915, of (1) being absent without leave from about 11 pm, 14 December 1915: awarded 3 day's detention.

Rejoined unit from Transport Section, Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt, 30 December 1915; on temporary detachment, Serapeum, 6 March 1916.

Embarked, Alexandria, to join the British Expeditionary Force, 21 March 1916; disembarked, Marseilles, 29 March 1916.

Found guilty, 31 May 1916, of (1) being absent from billet from 7:45 pm, 30 May 1916, until 8:45 pm, 30 May 1916: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No. 2.

Reverted to Private, Belgium, 20 September 1916; killed in action, France, 3 November 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, BURKE Henry Robert

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