Ray James Collis FLOWER

FLOWER, Ray James Collis

Service Number: 4523
Enlisted: 17 October 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Yongala, South Australia, 30 November 1891
Home Town: Aberdeen , Burra, South Australia
Schooling: Yongala Public School, South Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: SW to right knee, loss of blood, France, 6 July 1918, aged 26 years
Cemetery: Vignacourt British Cemetery, Picardie
Plot II, Row E, Grave 20
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Booborowie Leighton WW1 Roll of Honor, Burra District WW1 Honor Roll, Burra Fallen Soldiers Memorial, Farrell Flat Memorial Hall
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World War 1 Service

17 Oct 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 4523, Adelaide, South Australia
16 Dec 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 4523, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '17' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Berrima embarkation_ship_number: A35 public_note: ''
16 Dec 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 4523, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Berrima, Adelaide
6 Jul 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 4523, 32nd Infantry Battalion, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front"
6 Jul 1918: Wounded Private, 4523, 32nd Infantry Battalion, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front", Shell wound (right knee)

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Biography contributed by Glenunga International High School

Ray James Collis Flower

The First World War happened not long after Australian independence from Britain. Australia decided to fight partly because we still had close ties to Britain, and partly Australia wanted to show its strength and military power as its own independent nation. Another reason that Australia joined the war was to increase its popularity and legitimacy. If Australia had not joined World War One, other countries would have thought Australia weak, and joining also strengthened relations with many other nations.

There were over 400000 soldiers from Australia who fought in the war, and just under 35000 of those soldiers were South Australian.

Some key dates from World War One were the 28th of July 1914 which was when the war started, and 11th of November 1918. On the 16th of December 1916, Ray James Collis Flower embarked on the ship HMAT A35 Berrima and on the 6th of July 1917, Ray James Collis Flower died from his wounds in Morlancourt, France.

Ray James Collis Flower was born in the year of 1891, in Mannarie, Yongala in the state of South Australia. Ray James Collis Flower was at school in Yongala, and was raised a Methodist. When Ray James Collis Flower came of age, he moved to Aberdeen, Burra and became a farmer.

Ray James Collis Flower had no military history at all before enlisting in the Army on the 17th of October 1916. He had not had any previous experiences in war or any other major conflicts. Ray James Collis Flower lived in Yongala for most of his life. He had four siblings. He lived with his mother Emily Selina Dunn, and his father James Flower.

Ray James Collis Flower enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces on the 17th of October 1916. Ray James Collis Flower embarked from Adelaide, South Australia on the 16th of December 1916. He embarked on the HMAT A35 Berrima. Ray James Collis Flower was enrolled in the 32nd Battalion in the Australian Imperial Forces. His battalion was fairly small, as they had just lost 718 people, which was 75% of their battalion, and 90% of their actual fighting strength in a horrific battle at Fromelles for the 32nd Battalion.

The 32nd Battalion spent small stints of time on the front line, but there was no major conflict until early 1917. The 32nd Battalion was moved to the so called ‘Hindenburg Line’. This allowed the British forces to advance on the ‘Hindenburg Line’. This meant that the 32nd Battalion took a back seat and acted as reinforcements. Some of the 32nd Battalion were involved in the direct fighting on the ‘Hindenburg Line’, and Ray James Collis Flower was one of these soldiers.

During one of the many fights along the Line, Ray James Collis Flower was injured. This came after one particular push by the Allied forces, mostly consisted of British and Australian forces, in an attempt to gain ground and get better position. Ray James Collis Flower died of the wounds he sustained in the attack. Ray James Collis Flower died at the age of 26. He died in Morlancourt, France. Ray James Collis Flower is buried in Vignacourt British Cemetary, France in Plot ll, Row E, Grave No. 20 along with his father. Ray James Collis Flower is on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial on Panel 120. Ray James Collis Flower received the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From ‎François Berthout‎ from Australia and New Zealand in WWI

Today, I would like to pay, with gratitude, a very respectful tribute to one of my boys of the Somme, Private number 4523 Ray James Collis Flower who fought in the 32nd Australian Infantry Battalion and who died of his wounds 102 years ago, on July 6, 1918 at the age of 26.

Ray James Collis Flower was born on November 30, 1891 in Mannarie, Yongala, South Australia and he was the son of James and Emily Selina Flower, of Aberdeen, South Australia, native of Burra. Before the war, Ray was educated in Yongala and he worked as a farmer.

Enlisted on October 17, 1916 in the 32nd Australian Infantry Battalion, 12th Reinforcement, he embarked with his unit from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A35 Berrima on December 16, 1916 and sailed for England where he was disembarked on February 16, 1917 at Devonport and he received his training at Hurdcott in the 8th Training Battalion before embarking with the 32nd Battalion from Folkestone on July 2, 1917 and arrived in Le Havre, France, the following day, on July 3, 1917 and joined the trenches of the Somme on August 1, 1917.

less than a year later, on July 6, 1918, during an assault on Morlancourt, Somme, to break the Hindenburg line, Ray was wounded by a shrapnel in the right knee and was evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station at Vignacourt but unfortunately, he died of his wounds a few hours later at the age of 26.

Today, Ray James Collis Flower rests in peace with his comrades in the Vignacourt British Cemetery, Somme,and his grave bears the following inscription "in memory of the dearly loved son of J. and E. Flower of Burra. ( aged 26).

With all my heart and with respect, thank you Ray, you who came from Australia, on the other side of the world to fight for your country and for the people of France, on these sacred lands of the Somme on which so many your comrades and brothers in arms fought and fell together, you were the hope and the liberators of a country devastated by the fury of war and of a people that war and death had shattered, you were the sun and light in the darkness. Today, the sun of France and the Somme shines brightly on your name so that it will live forever through our hearts and our thoughts. We will never forget your young face, the face of a young man who fought beyond bravery, today the people of france and the people of australia, united in remembrance and in an indestructible friendship, we salute you with very great respect and with the honors that you and all your comrades deserve, with gratitude and with love , we will never forget who you were and what you did and what you are today, a hero, one of my boys of the Somme on whom I would always watch with devotion, respect, pride and love.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.🌺