The AIF Project

James David CAIRNS

Regimental number3273
Place of birthMiller's Point, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFireman
Address27 Theodore Street, Balmain, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 9.5"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinFather, R Cairns, 27 Theodore Street, Balmain, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 2 years in the Senior Cadets; 2 years in the 29th Infantry, Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date28 July 1915
Place of enlistmentWarwick Farm, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name2nd Battalion, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/19/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 2 November 1915
Regimental number from Nominal Roll3273A
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll53rd Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted, 11 August 1915 - 2nd Bn, 11th Reinforcments; taken on strength, 53rd Bn, 16 February 1916.
FateKilled in Action 19 July 1916
Place of death or woundingBattle of Fromelles, France
Age at death22
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsV.C. Corner (Panel No 7), Australian Cemetery Memorial, Fromelles, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
156
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Allotted to and proceeded to join 53rd Bn, Tel el Kebir, 16 February 1916.

Reallotted Regimental No 3273A.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 28 June 1916.

Found guilty, 11 July 1916, of breach of March discipline: awarded 168 hours' Field Punishment No 2.

Reported missing in action, 19 July 1916.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 2 September 1917, pronounced fate as 'killed in action, 19 July 1916'.

Red Cross File No 670412 has statement, 28250 Sergeant H.L. HARRISON, 53rd Bn, 28 April 1919: 'Referring to 3273A Pte J.D. Cairns. "D" Coy. 53rd Bttn. I was in the action of 19.7.16 at Fleurbaix. I saw Cairns lying on the ground but am not certain whether it was between our first and second lines or in "No Man's Land". He appeared to be dead.'

Second statement, 3235A, R.J. VASSETT, 53rd Bn, 12 February 1917: 'I saw him wounded in the body at Fleurbaix on 19-7-16. He asked me to dress him; we were charging at the time and I could not stop. I did not seem a bad wound. The shell hole was about mid-way in No Mans (sic) Land, and we had to retire later on. I do not know what became of him as I started on again as soon as I got my wind.' Note on file: 'Informant was unsatisfactory in that he would not give further details.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, CAIRNS James David

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