William Claude BURFORD


BURFORD, William Claude

Service Number: 728
Enlisted: 4 September 1914, Morphettville, South Australia
Last Rank: Company Quartermaster Sergeant
Last Unit: 4th Pioneer Battalion
Born: Jamestown, South Australia, 25 May 1894
Home Town: Jamestown, Northern Areas, South Australia
Schooling: Jamestown Public School
Occupation: Missionary
Died: Killed in Action (shell concussion), Pozieres, France, 3 August 1916, aged 22 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave. His name is located at panel 173 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT.
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Jamestown Baptist Church WW1 Honour Board, Jamestown Soldier's Memorial Park Arch, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

4 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 728, Morphettville, South Australia
17 Sep 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 728, 12th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
17 Sep 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 728, 12th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 728, 12th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
6 Jan 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 728, 12th Infantry Battalion
1 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Sergeant, 52nd Infantry Battalion
15 Mar 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Company Quartermaster Sergeant, SN 728, 4th Pioneer Battalion
11 Jun 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Company Quartermaster Sergeant, SN 728, 4th Pioneer Battalion
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Company Quartermaster Sergeant, SN 728, 4th Pioneer Battalion, Pozières

"The NOBLE EIGHT" - Our Boys for the Front - God Speed and a Safe Return

The Noble Eight - 1914 (from Jamestown, South Australia)
Thank you to the works by Mrs Barbara I Parri (dec) and Mrs Kaye B Bottrall, from Jamestown, SA.

Colour-Sergeant W C (Claude) Burford (dec)
Private Colin Cameron (dec)
Private C A Tonquest (dec)
Lieutenant J J (Joe) Brooks
Private Jim Dawes
Private Stan Lambert
Private W G (Bill) Rosie
Private V R (Roy) Swann

First Party of Volunteers to join the AIF, after declaration of war with Germany 4 August 1914.

All these men served at Gallipoli and from there to Egypt and France. Three paid the supreme sacrifice and the remaining five men returned to Jamestown, South Australia.

Mentioned in the “Agriculturist & Review” newspaper – September 1914 (see picture) and 12/11/1914.

AU REVOIR 11 September 1914

“Our Boys for the Front – God speed and a safe return”

Local folk turned out enmasse on Monday morning, 7 September 1914, to give ‘Our Boys in Khaki’ a right royal send off. Almost the whole of the business places were closed until after the train, which bore our quota of heroes, had gone out of sight.

At about 9:30am residents of the town, of all ages, began to assemble at Victoria Square and about 10 o’clock the time fixed for the ceremony, there was a large and enthusiastic gathering including the school children. Willing workers had made the Square brighter with strings of bunting in which the grand old Union Jack predominated, whilst the band, under the leadership of Mr Barclay, enlivened the proceedings with a number of selections.

At 10:00am the Mayor Mr R E Humphris took his place on the trolly, and was accompanied by Ministers of Religion and other leading citizens with the soldiers for the front drawn up at the end as follows:-

Lieutenant J J (Joe) Brooks and Privates: V R (Roy) Swann, Jim Dawes, W G (Bill) Rosie, Colin Cameron and C A Tonquest with the B Squadron Australian Light Horse. Colonel Sergeant W C (Claude) Burford with the 12th Infantry and Private Stan Lambert with the 10th Infantry.

His worship said that they were gathered together for the purpose of saying goodbye to their boys who were going to Europe to help uphold the integrity and freedom of the Empire. They were boys of he good old Bull Dog Breed.

Lieutenant A D Mitchell, Officer Commander (OC) B Squadron 24th Light Horse, said he felt proud that the men from his squadron were going. The offer of Jamestown lads for the first contingent had been very pleasing and the boys had offered themselves with pleasure.

Other speeches and good wishes from Mr H Boucaut, Reverend W T Shapley and Reverend R A Adams. Cheers for the King and Empire, Joe and the other boys and Song of Australia.

The trolly was then commandeered for the ‘Boys in Khaki’ who were drawn by willing hands through the people, al of whom were eager to get close enough for a hearty handshake and a personal wish of good luck, so that progress was exceedingly slow until the Square was cleared. The band headed the march to the railway station playing ‘Songs of the Brave’.

At the station the boys met with right royal treatment until the train steamed out, when rousing cheers were again given in last efforts to cheer and strengthen the departing soldiers on their journey to honour.

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Known as ‘Claude’
b.  25/5/1894 in Jamestown SA
Note: Sth Austn Birth record: 1842 - 1906 Book: 543 Page: 180 District: Cla.

Second son of Lieutenant William John Henry BURFORD and
Mother   Caroline Amelia (nee Goodes), living in Jamestown, SA.

Spent the greater portion of his life in Jamestown.

Previous service:
3 years Senior cadets
12 months Citizen Forces
2 years Private in B Squadron, 24th Light Horse Regiment

1911 Claude was accepted by the Baptist Union as a candidate of the Ministry and appointed as Home Missionary at Parilla, where he laboured until the outbreak of WWI.   He felt it his duty to enlist.

On his 18th birthday, Claude enlisted with the B Squadron, 24th Light Horse Regiment.

Next of kin in service:
Eldest brother     #3042  Private Anthony Ray Burford
                         enlisted with his best friend 3034 Private Arthur Edmond Brooks 5/8/1915
                         Embarked 2/1/1916 with 7th Battalion
                         transferred into 32nd Battalion, sent to France
                         20/7/1916  Killed in action, in the Battle of Armentieres

Described on enlisting as 20 years 3 months old; single; 6’ 2.5” tall; 182 lbs; fresh complexion;
grey eyes, dark hair; Baptist.

4/9/1914     Enlisted at Morphettville with “the Noble Eight” as a Private.
                  Completed medical at Morphettville - fit for service

17/9/1914   Embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT Geelong A2
                  F Company, 12th Battalion as a Colour-Sergeant

2/3/1915     Embarked on board HMT Devanha, ex Alexandria to join the
                  Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli Campaign, with
                  the 12th Battalion on the landing at Gallipoli.

6/1/1916     disembarked off of the HMT Lake Michigan, into Alexandria,
                  Egypt (after the evacuation of Gallipoli)

1/3/1916     On the evacuation of the Anzac Peninsula,
                  he transferred to the 52nd Battalion at Railhead

15/3/1916   promoted to Company Quarter Master Sergeant with the 4th Pioneer Battalion

This rank is also known as "Warrant Officer Class Two" (WO2):

This is a senior management role focusing on the training, welfare and discipline of a company, squadron or battery of up to 200 soldiers. WO2s act as senior adviser to the commander of a sub-unit. Company Sergeant-Major (CSM) in all sub-units except for the following:
Squadron Sergeant-Major (SSM) in Armoured, Aviation and Engineer sub-units
Artificer Sergeant-Major (ASM) in RAEME sub-units.
Battery Sergeant-Major in Artillery sub-units.

WO2s are also employed in more senior logistics and technical trades across most corps of the Army. They can have titles such as Artificer Sergeant-Major, Chief Clerk or Quarter Master Sergeant. WO2s are also employed as supervising instructors in Army schools.

16/3/1916   Transferred to the 4th Pioneer Battalion, as Warrant Officer, Tel-El-Kebir

On arrival in France, he applied for transfer to the fighting line and was appointed
Quarter Master Sergeant to the 52nd Battalion.

4/6/1916      Proceeded to join the British Expeditionary Force, on board the
                   HMT Scotian, ex Alexandria
11/6/1916    disembarked Marseilles, France

Noted by the Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Bureau:-

3/8/1916      At Pozieres, a shell burst dropped by the side of Sgt Burford
                   burning several people.  He was not buried, but died of concussion. (22 years old)
buried:    ** North of Becourt Military Cemetery, 1 1/4 miles east of Albert

**Heavy shelling in the Becourt region, made it difficult to confirm if William had been buried
there or not.  Later noted as "No known grave".

Commemorated in he Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneaux, France

His name is located at panel 173 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial,
Canberra, ACT.

6/8/1916   Promoted 2nd Lieutenant - commissioned cancelled due to death

Mentioned in the “Agriculturist & Review” newspaper – 1/9/1916
 "Quite a gloom as cast over the town of Jamestown on Friday afternoon
  25/8/1916, when it became known that Warrant Officer W Claude Burford,
  second son of Lieuenant W J Burford, had been killed in action, during the
  fighting in France 3/8/1916."

"Claude was one of the most popular young men of the town and was liked
  and highly respected by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. His
  manly and straight forward character as well as his kindly disposition
  endeared him to all, and his loss will be keenly felt.

Mr and Mrs Burford received a message of sympathy from the King and Queen
and the Govenor General.

Mentioned in the “Agriculturist & Review” newspaper – 22/9/1916

From Sergeant W Lambert of A Company, 4th Pioneers (to Mr Burord).

“Claude was killed in action last night. He and I were comrades in the 12th Battalion and we came to the unit together from the 52nd. He only lived a few minutes after receiving the death wound and never spoke. I can only say little for I was not near him. I’ve lost a grand comrade and friend. Your son died bravely in the face of the enemy and lived and died the same Christian gentleman he was in his home. Goodbye and may these few lines safely reach you.”

1914-15 Star (5763);  British War Medal (197);  Victory Medal (197)
Memorial Plaque and Memorial Scroll (321480).

Thank you to Mrs Barbara I Parri (dec) and Mrs Kaye B Bottrall, from Jamestown, for
their research.

Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan.  2/1/2015.  Lest we forget.