The AIF Project

Andrew Patrick CLEARY

Regimental number5064
Place of birthBendigo, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationLabourer
AddressMain Road, Woonona, South Coast, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Height5' 8"
Weight154 lbs
Next of kinA A Cleary, Vig Lodge, Wentworth Place, Point Piper, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date16 December 1915
Place of enlistmentKensington, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1st Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/18/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT SS Makarini on 1 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 31 August 1914; taken on strength 1 Battalion 14 September 1914 but did not embark; discharged; re-enlisted 6 December 1915 - 1 Battalion 16 Reinforcement; taken on strength 1 Battalion 11 July 1916.
FateKilled in Action 21 July 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death21
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
28
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Emarked Sydney, 1 April 1916; disembarked Suez, 2 May 1916.

Admitted to 2nd Stationary Hospital, Tel el Kebir, 4 May 1916 (not yet diagnosed); discharged to duty, 6 May 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 9 May 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 17 May 1916.

Found guilty, 29 June 1916, of conduct to the prejudice of good order and Military discipline, viz. leaving billet without permission: awarded forfeiture of 8 days' pay.

Taken on strength, 1st Bn, in the field, 11 July 1916.

Killed in action, 21 July 1916.

Handwritten note on Form B103: 'Buried in vicinity of Pozieres Sheet 57.D.SE.X.4.'

Statement, Red Cross File No 0750308, 5256 Lance Corporal G. WOOD, 1st Bn (patient, No 2 Temporary Hospital, Exeter, England), 22 November 1916: 'On July 22, 1916 at Pozieres in a support trench, Pte. Cleary was buried alive owing to the bursting of a shell. His body was not found.'

Second statement, 3422 Pte D. McCABE, 1st Bn, 6 November 1916: 'Witness states that above was killed in action July 21/16 about 4 p.m. so he was informed by men of the Battalion, and buried the same day at Contalmaison, in the support trenches. The grave was marked with a cross with name, number, date etc. on it ... Cleary came from Cowra N.S.W.'

Third statement, 1002 Sergeant A. HODGES, 1st Bn (patient, 4th Australian General Hospital, Randwick), 7 November 1916: While the Battalion was in supports behind contal Maison [sic] on the 21st July, Cleary was waiting in the "support" trench [when] a shell struck the parapet and buried Cleary and several others. Informant who was acting Sgt. Major of Cleary's company saw this happen and sent word to the Pioneers to bury Cleary's body. This was done the same night behind the lines at Pozieres.'

Fourth statement, 5137 Pte A.C. KING, 1st Bn (patient, 6th General Hospital, Rouen), 10 November 1916: 'On July 21st on the road between Albert and Pozieres, Cleary was hit in the left shoulder by a shell fragmen. He was killed on the spot. A man named Hery Warren and another were killed by the same shell. The bodies were left. We went on.'

Fifth statement, 5536 Pte A. YUILLE, 1st Bn (patient, 2nd Southern General Hospital, Southmead, Bristol, England), 10 November 1916: 'I saw Cleary buried in a grave at Hells Gate, about 400 yards south of La Boiselle.'

Sixth statement, 5104 Sergeant F. GOULDING, 1st Bn (patient, 26th General Hospital, Etaples), 13 November 1916: 'He ... was killed at Pozieres on July 26th. A shell caught him during the charge and killed him outright. He was alongside Lt. Atkins at the time. I was not far away and saw the casualty. The body had to be left there, as we went on into the charge. I know nothing as to its burial. He came from Kiama, N.S.W.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, CLEARY Andrew Patrick
Red Cross File No 0750308

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