The AIF Project

Matthew Dallas BURNS

Regimental number5659
Place of birthTallangatta, Victoria
True NameBURNS, Ivor Arthur Dallas
SchoolState School, Tallangatta, Victoria
ReligionChurch of England
AddressTallangatta, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Height5' 4.25"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinFather, J Burns, 4 Duke Street, St Kilda, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil (exempt area under Compulsory Military Training scheme)
Enlistment date3 May 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name8th Battalion, 18th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/25/5
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A33 Ayrshire on 3 July 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll46th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 11 April 1917
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)*Matthew spelt Mathew
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death18
Age at death from cemetery records18
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: John and Eliza BURNS, 36 Gibbs Street, Balaclava. Born at Tallangatta, Victoria
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 2; Cousins: 6 died Brother: 2346 Pte John Charles BURNS, 59th Bn, returned to Australia, 8 January 1919.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Melbourne, 3 July 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 2 September 1916, and marched in to 2nd Training Bn, Perham Downs.

Proceeded overseas to France, 8 October 1916; taken on strength, 46th Bn, in the field, 20 October 1916.

Admitted to 12th Australian Field Ambulance, 28 October 1916 (influenza), and transferred to 1st South African General Hospital; to No 5 Convalescent Depot, Cayeux, 7 November 1916; to 4th Australian Division Base Depot, Etaples, 17 November 1916.

Found guilty, 11 December 1916, of being absent withiout leave from 0815 parade: awarded forfeiture of 5 days' pay.

Rejoined 46th Bn, in the field, 23 December 1916.

Reported Missing in Action.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 26 November 1917, pronounced fate as 'Killed in Action, 11 April 1917'.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, BURNS Matthew Dallas

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