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Remembered Today:

Australian 16th Battalion.


Tony Lund
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I have a local man killed with this battalion on that date. Interestingly, his last letter home says he has just left Egypt, apart from that I only know he volunteered early in the war. I know the Australian Official History is on line and I have just had a quick look at it. I think I will have a much better chance of finding something if I can find the Battalions general location, or the number of the Brigade or Division. Unfortunately I did not know about this man when I had the British Official History to hand so I haven’t looked there.

He was:

Benjamin Roebuck, who was a Private (5178), 16th Battalion, Australian Infantry. Born at Wood Nook, Honley, he was educated at Saint Mary’s Church School, Wilshaw, the son of Joseph Hirst Roebuck and Rachel Roebuck, of Cliff View, Thongsbridge, Holmfirth. While living at Netherthong he became a teamer, driving a horse drawn wagon for Mr John Batley, he was a member of the Working Men’s Club and attended Saint Mary’s Church. He emigrated to Australia around 1910, and soon acquired a farm and an orchard.

He volunteered during the early stages of the war and died on Sunday 12th August 1916. On the 14th of the month a letter arrived in Holmfirth saying he was glad to get away from Egypt, which was a miserable place to live, and that he hoped to visit them at Netherthong before he returned to Australia. His family received the news of his death on 2nd September, he was thirty-seven years old. There is no known grave consequently he is named on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Somme, France. Locally he is named on the Holmfirth and New Mill War Memorial: Netherthong and Thongsbridge section.

Any further information would be appreciated.

Tony.

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Hi Tony

The 16th Battalion was fighting around Pozieres/Mouquet Farm on this date. I'll have a look at their unit history to see if it says anything specific about that date.

According to the embarkation rolls he was living in Harvey when he enlisted. Harvey is a farming area and is in the South West of Western Australia.

Cheers

Andrew

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Thanks for that, the farming area ties in nicely with what is known about him, I can now assume his farm was at Harvey, Western Australia. It all adds up.

Thanks again,

Tony.

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Sorry to jump in on you Andrew, but I had "The Old Sixteenth", the history of the 16th Battalion AIF (Capt C Longmore, 1929) in front of me.....

The 16th attacked Circular Trench, north of Pozieres, on August 9th: "The attack was everywhere successful....against fierce resistance by the German machine gunners". On the 10th the 16th again advanced a short distance and consolidated; the Germans counter-attacked from Mouquet Farm on the 11th and were met "by a storm of rifle and lewis gun-fire..the enemy was completely demoralised and scattered". On the 12th "the enemy bombarded the left of the line, causing heavy casualties". At 1.30 pm that afternoon the 16th was relieved, though the Germans had the area under observation and "bombarded with every calibre of shell....Through Kay trench and Pozieres and down Centre Way the 16th was chased by a vindictive bombardment of the enemy's 'heavies'". The 16th's casualties for the four day tour was 39 killed, 348 wounded and 19 missing.

Pte Martin O'Meara, a 16th Bn stretcher bearer, won a VC during this action.

According to "The Old Sixteenth", Ben Roebuck left Fremantle with the 16th Reinforcements of the 16th Battalion, on HMAT A9 Shropshire, March 31st, 1916.

Good on you,

regards,

Grant

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Thanks for the link, I found this:

War Memorial Library, Young Street, Harvey 6220.

Two metal plaques mounted on either side of the entrance doors to the library are inscribed with the names of those who died in WWI and WWII. The name "War Memorial Library" is inscribed across the main facade.

You gave me enough information to find the local paper, the Harvey-Australind Reporter, and its email address, I have asked them to publish a request for someone to have a look at the Memorial by the Library door and email me if Benjamin Roebuck’s name is present.

Thanks again,

Tony.

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You’ve set me thinking now! It should be possible to do the same with the other Holmfirth men who died with the armies of their adopted countries. Like the other Australian Army man and the New Zealand Army man, also the two killed with the United States Marines and the Canadian Army men.

Tony.

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This is his entry at the NA in Oz. You can request the digital of his full service record which will take about 6 weeks.

Title

ROEBUCK Benjamin : Service Number - 5178 : Place of Birth - Huddersfield England : Place of Enlistment - Blackboy Hill WA : Next of Kin - (Mother) ROEBUCK Rachel

Series number

B2455 Control symbol

ROEBUCK BENJAMIN Contents date range

1914 - 1920

Go to

http://www.naa.gov.au/The_Collection/recordsearch.html

and flllow the instructions.

Cheers

Kim

Access status

Not yet examined Location

Canberra Barcode no

8036293

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  • 5 years later...

Grant,

My uncle was in the 16th Btn and won a MM. Do you know if the 16th Btn hostory is available on line or would a copy be available in a place othetr than WA. I am in Victoria.

Kind Regards

Brian

Sorry to jump in on you Andrew, but I had "The Old Sixteenth", the history of the 16th Battalion AIF (Capt C Longmore, 1929) in front of me.....

The 16th attacked Circular Trench, north of Pozieres, on August 9th: "The attack was everywhere successful....against fierce resistance by the German machine gunners". On the 10th the 16th again advanced a short distance and consolidated; the Germans counter-attacked from Mouquet Farm on the 11th and were met "by a storm of rifle and lewis gun-fire..the enemy was completely demoralised and scattered". On the 12th "the enemy bombarded the left of the line, causing heavy casualties". At 1.30 pm that afternoon the 16th was relieved, though the Germans had the area under observation and "bombarded with every calibre of shell....Through Kay trench and Pozieres and down Centre Way the 16th was chased by a vindictive bombardment of the enemy's 'heavies'". The 16th's casualties for the four day tour was 39 killed, 348 wounded and 19 missing.

Pte Martin O'Meara, a 16th Bn stretcher bearer, won a VC during this action.

According to "The Old Sixteenth", Ben Roebuck left Fremantle with the 16th Reinforcements of the 16th Battalion, on HMAT A9 Shropshire, March 31st, 1916.

Good on you,

regards,

Grant

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G'day Brian

That post that you responded to is 6 years old - but you may be lucky!!

My great uncle Cecil Larsen was with the 16th Battalion (12th Reinforcements). He was KIA on 12.8.16 at Pozieres/Mouquet Farm.

Copies of "The Old Sixteenth" are available - just Google it. They are a bit pricey - the War Memorial has it for $105. Failing that I'd be very surprised if the State Library of Victoria didnt have acopy.

If you let us know your Uncle's name and preferably his service number, I can give you links that will tell the story of where he served, where he won the MM etc.

Or start the journey yourself here:

The 16th Battalion - http://www.awm.gov.au/units/unit_11203.asp

Australian War Memorial Search - http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/

National Archives - His Service Record - http://naa.gov.au/collection/recordsearch/index.aspx - click on "Search Now" and then enter his surname and service number

16th Battalion War Diary - https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/records/awm4/subclass.asp?levelID=1788

Photographs of the 16th Battalion - http://www.pictureaustralia.org/ - and search on "16th Battalion"

There are heaps of other potential sources of info

Let us know if you need any further assistance and enjoy the journey

Cheers

Paul

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Mate,

I picked up my copy from the UK via The Naval and Military Press from the Printed books of the Imperial War Museum.

It was about 10 pounds, I lot cheaper then here in Australia.

It is a soft cover reprint but just as good.

S.B

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Thanks Leo and Steve,

I will follow up on the book. I have a fair bit of info on my uncle and have purchased the records from NAA, I am also lucky enough to have the CEW Bean history books of WW1

I am just looking to see if there are other items of info prior to his death in Amiens July 18 leading from his first landing at Gallipoli.

Like everything it just takes time and effort and help from finding a site such as this.

Kind Regards

Brian

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Ian Gill released a new book on the 16th last year ... "The Bloody Angle - Bullecourt and Beyond"

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Thanks Fedelmar,

Do you know who the publisher is

regards

Brian

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Full title is BLOODY ANGLE: BULLECOURT AND BEYOND : 16th Battalion AIF 1914-1919

Apparently self published in an limited edition of 750 copies.

ISBN is 9780975058817

I have seen mention of what may be an earlier edition (or a prepublication name ?) as Blackboy, Bullecourt And Beyond: 16Th Battalion Aif 1914-1919

under the same ISBN.

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I think that is incorrect ... I have Ian's book that he gave me and it definitely is Bloody Angle: Bullecourt and Beyond.

His other book is on the 11th "Fremantle to France".

Brian,

Apologies as I missed your post.

If you want one let me know and I will ask Ian if there is any left.

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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There are still copies of Ian's 16th book available. $60.00 plus postage. Let me know if you want one and I will give you the contact details.

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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Thank you Sandra,

I am waiting for the other book mentioned to arrive from UK so I will have a look at that first and then consider your offer.

Kind Regards

Brian

There are still copies of Ian's 16th book available. $60.00 plus postage. Let me know if you want one and I will give you the contact details.

Bright Blessings

Sandra

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