The AIF Project

Robert David BURNS

Regimental number16
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationStation manager
AddressGowan Brae, Parramatta, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation27
Height6' 0.5"
Weight161 lbs
Next of kinFather, James Burns, Gowan Brae, Parramatta, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date17 May 1915
Place of enlistmentHolsworthy, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name4th Light Horse Brigade, Headquarters
AWM Embarkation Roll number10/4/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board TRANSPORT A29 Suevic on 13 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll14th Machine Gun Company
FateKilled in Action 20 July 1916
Place of burialFromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery (Plot I, Row F, Grave No 1), France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
177
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Colonel the Hon. Sir James BURNS, KCMG, and Lady BURNS
Family/military connectionsBrother: 115 Sergeant John BURNS, 6th Bn, discharged, 9 March 1917.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 30 August 1915.

Transferred to 6th Light Horse Regiment, 27 November 1915; taken on strength, Anzac Cove, 28 November 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria, 25 December 1915 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Appointed 2nd Lieutenant, 20 January 1916.

Transferred to 4th Bn, 27 January 1916, and taken on strength of unit, Tel el Kebir.

Transferred to 56th Bn, and taken on strength, 16 February 1916.

Detached to School of Instruction, Zeitoun, 5 March 1916; rejoined Bn from detachment, 25 March 1916.

Attached for duty to 14th Australian Machine Gun Company, 26 March 1916.

Detached to School of Instruction, Ismailia, 31 March 1916; rejoined unit from detachment, 20 April 1916.

Qualified as 1st Class Instructor, Vicker's Maxim Machine Gun Course, 31 March-20 April 1916.

Seconded for duty with 14th Australian Machine Gun Company, 27 May 1916.

Promoted Lieutenant, 30 May 1916.

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

Reported missing, 20 July 1916.

Undated statement by CO, 5th Machine Gun Bn: 'He was last seen after the German counter-attack had succeeded on both flanks and it is supposed that he was killed whilst visiting the left flank of the 14th Brigade.'

Identification Disc received from Germany. No particulars afforded except that Officer is deceased. To be reported as: KILLED IN ACTION. Authority: AAG, Anzac Section, from War Office letter, 24 February 1917.

Note on file: 'Lieut. Burns, R.D. 14.M.G.K. (Australier) am 19.7. in Gegend Fromelles gefallen.'

Red Cross File No 650105 has statement from Warrant Officer G.E. PARKES, 14th Machine Gun Company, 26 September 1919: 'I saw him hit by a piece of shell going over in a charge at Fromelles. He was taken away very badly wounded and shortly afterwards friends of mine heard from his sister to the effect that he had died as a result of his wounds.'

The above name appeared on German death list dated 4-11-16.

Identity disc returned from Germany to British War Office, 14 March 1917.

Note, Red Cross File No 650105: 'The above name appeared on German death list dated 4-11-16'.

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

Originally listed as 'No Known Grave' and commemorated on the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux; subsequently (2010) identified, and interred in the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, France.
Miscellaneous detailsName entered incorrectly on Embarkation Roll as Robert Davis BURNS.
SourcesNAA: B2455, BURNS Robert David
Red Cross File No 650105

Print format