Laurence James BRANSON


BRANSON, Laurence James

Service Number: 4656
Enlisted: 11 February 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Greenock, South Australia, 6 May 1896
Home Town: Unley, Unley, South Australia
Schooling: Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Bank clerk
Died: Killed in Action, France, 5 November 1916, aged 20 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide National Australia Bank WW1 Honour Board, Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Freeling Boer War, Boxer Rebellion and WW1 Memorial Panel, Freeling War Memorial, Greenock WW1 Honor Roll , Greenock War Memorial Cairn, Unley Town Hall WW1 Honour Board, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

11 Feb 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 4656, Adelaide, South Australia
11 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4656, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 4656, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Adelaide
5 Nov 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 4656, 27th Infantry Battalion, Flers/Gueudecourt


The Register Thursday 05 April 1917 page 8

Information has just been received by Mrs. A. M. Branson, of Trevelyan street, Wayville, that her son, Cpl. Laurence J. Branson, who was previously reported missing, was killed in action on November 5, 1916. He enlisted early in February of 1916, and sailed for England on April 11, attached to the 12th Reinforcements of the 27th Battalion. He received, several months of special training at a Tidworth School of Instruction before proceeding to France to join the battalion. He received his education at Prince Alfred College. Upon leaving college be joined the firm of Messrs. Clutterbuck Brothers, but later accepted a position on the staff of the National Bank, Adelaide, which he held at the time of enlisting.

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Born on 6 May 1896 at Greenock to he was third child and second son to George Branson and Hannah (Anna) Maria Branson (nee Webb.) In 1907 the family moved to Adelaide, where Laurence still living with his parents moved too. He recieved his education at Prince Alfred College and joined the schools Cadet Corps for three years. After finishing at PAC he joined the 78th Infantry Citizens Military Forces and served with them for 1 year. In civilian life he worked as a bank clerk. 

At his enlistment he resided at 26 Trevelyan Street, Wayville, North Unley and was still living with his parents, declaring himself single.

He enlisted on the 11 February, 1916 and was drafted into the 12th Reinforcements of the 27th Battalion 'Unley's Own.' After brief training in Adelaide he sailed at Outer Harbour on HMAT Aeneas (A60) on the 11 April, 1916. Arriving in England he undertook further training with the 7th Training Battalion in the Salisbury Plains. He reached France in later September and was taken on strength by the 27th Battalion in ealry October. He was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal.

Although the 27th Battalion had already partaken in the attack on Pozieres and later Mouquet Farm or 'Moo Cow Farm' and had sustained many casualties with the fresh reinforcements arrived from England, just like Laurence James Branson, the 27th Battalion was again thrown into action at Flers/ Guedecourt on the Somme during winter. Not only was the ground churned up with mud and rain turning it into a quagmire the winter was also the coldest winter in living memory.

On the 5 November, 1916 Lance Corporal Laurence James branson and the rest of the 27th Battalion was launched into battle. The attack failed and the 27th Battalion again sustained many casualties including Lance Corporal Branson's life.

His Red Cross file although only 2 pages long, details what happened to Branson. During the attack he was reportedly in No Man's Land working as a sniper when he too "was shot right through the head," by a German sniper. As the battle was still going, his body couldn't be recovered by a Stretcher Bearer Team, and after the battle, with no ground gained, his body remained in No Man's Land until early 1917 when it would have been nearly immpossible to identify let alone bury. As a result he and a large number of other 27th battalion men are memorialised on the Australian National War Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. He was 20 years old.

British War Medal: 36686

Victory Medal: 36402

Memorial Plaque: 313804