The AIF Project

Donald Henderson ARTHURSON

Regimental number5032
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales
SchoolLeichhardt Superior Public School, NSW
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationJunior porter
AddressFire Station, Leichhardt, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Height5' 6"
Weight112 lbs
Next of kinFather, F Arthurson, Fire Station, Marion Street, Leichhardt, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed in the Compulsory Training Scheme up to the time of Enlistment.
Enlistment date12 January 1916
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name2nd Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/19/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on 9 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll54th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted with Reinforcements to the 2nd Batt at the age of 16 yrs. Was transferred to the 54th Batt when the 5th Div was formed in Egypt. Left for France and went into action for the first time in July 1916.
FateKilled in Action 15 May 1917
Place of death or woundingBullecourt, France
Age at death18
Age at death from cemetery records19
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
158
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Kenneth and Edith ARTHURSON, Fire Station, Leichhardt, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ARTHURSON Donald Henderson

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