Cecil George LARSEN


LARSEN, Cecil George

Service Number: 3940
Enlisted: 8 September 1915, Blackboy Hill Camp - 12th Reinforcements
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion
Born: Kojonup, Western Australia, Australia, 2 June 1896
Home Town: Muradup, Kojonup, Western Australia
Schooling: Muradup State School, Kojonup, Western Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in action, vicinity Pozieres, France, 12 August 1916, aged 20 years
Cemetery: London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval
Plot I, Row F, Grave No 26
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kojonup RSL War Memorial, Muradup War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

8 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3940, 16th Infantry Battalion, Blackboy Hill Camp - 12th Reinforcements
22 Dec 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3940, 16th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '12' embarkation_place: Fremantle embarkation_ship: HMAT Ajana embarkation_ship_number: A31 public_note: ''
22 Dec 1915: Embarked Private, SN 3940, 16th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ajana, Fremantle
3 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3940, 16th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Biography contributed by Steve Larkins

Cecil George LARSEN was the son of Henry and Catherine Larsen of Minadup Farm via Kojonup, Western Australia.

Enlisting in September of 1915 he was assigned to the 12th Reinforcements of the 16th Battalion, which was part of the 4th Brigade, originally in the 1st Division. 

At Gallipoli the 4th Brigade was attached to the composite ANZAC Division commanded by NZ General Godley.  After Gallipoli, on return to Egypt, the AIF was re-organised and 4th Brigade passed from under Command 1st Division to become the nucleus of the newly created 4th Division in a process known as 'The Doubling of the AIF', for service on the Western Front.  The 16th Battalion was 'cloned' as where the other fifteen orignal Battalions, spawning its 'pup' Battalion, the 48th, which drew men from WA and SA.  The 48th and the rest of the 13th Brigade were also in the 4th Division. 

Cecil arrived in Egypt and was duly embarked from Egypt for Marseilles in southern France and thence northwards to Flanders.  They had a short assignment near Armentieres, in what was called 'the Nursery',  in order to be familiarised with trench warfare in what was deemed to be a relatively quiet sector.  As the 5th Division found out at Fromelles shortly afterwards, it was not as quiet as had been supposed.  Meanwhile the 4th Division moved south, following the 1st and 2nd Divisions to take part in the great Somme offensive.

The 4th Division was committed to battle in early August.  It relieved the 2nd Division which had captured the high ground NE of Pozieres, on the 8th August.  In another sector of the line, when the 48th relieved the SA 27th Battalion near the Windmill at Pozieres, they reported that there was no one left alive in the forward trenches, providing a portent of what they themselves would face.  It was shortly after this, on the 12th, that Cecil was killed.

He was originally listed as having no 'No known grave', a fate common to a majority of soldiers killed outright in the fighting in the Pozieres area.  Most were casualties of relentless artillery fire which buried a great many of the men killed.  It also disturbed the graves of men who had been buried in the field. 

His name was initially inscribed on the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux; but like many others since, the earth gave up his remians and they were subsequently discovered some 20 years after his death.  His remains were interred at Longueval, itself the scene of bitter fighting. during the Somme offensive.


Compiled by Steve Larkins April 2020