Alexander Frederick BERTRAND


BERTRAND, Alexander Frederick

Service Number: 414
Enlisted: 28 December 1915, Perth
Last Rank: Company Quartermaster Sergeant
Last Unit: 44th Infantry Battalion
Born: Brunswick, Victoria, 1888
Home Town: Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove, Western Australia
Schooling: Fremantle
Occupation: Commercial Traveller
Died: Killed in action, Ploegsteert, Belgium, 2 April 1917
Cemetery: Berks Cemetery Extension
Plot I, Row M, Grave 31
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Fremantle Fallen Sailors & Soldiers Memorial
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World War 1 Service

28 Dec 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 414, 44th Infantry Battalion, Perth
6 Jun 1916: Involvement Corporal, SN 414, 44th Infantry Battalion
6 Jun 1916: Embarked Corporal, SN 414, 44th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Suevic, Fremantle
6 Jun 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 44th Infantry Battalion
23 Jan 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Company Quartermaster Sergeant, 44th Infantry Battalion
2 Apr 1917: Involvement SN 414, 44th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

Company Quartermaster Sergeant Alexander Frederick Bertrand (414), 44th Battalion was the son of Alexander and Jane Bertrand of Monument Street, Cottesloe Beach, Western Australia. He was born at Brunswick, Victoria and educated at Fremantle.

Enlisting in late December 1915, he went into camp in January 1916. Promoted to Corporal, he embarked HMAT Suevic on 6 June 1916 at Fremantle for England, arriving there on July 23.

He married Grace Ethel Berry just prior to leaving for overseas. She was an English lass from Surry, who had migrated with her family to Western Australia in 1911. She was pregnant with their son, Vernon Alexander Charles as he sailed away.

After further training at Larkhill Camp, Corporal Bertrand crossed to France in November 1916. Promoted in the field to Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS), he was in action until 2 April 1917 when he made the supreme sacrifice at Ploegsteert, Belgium.

The 44th Battalion diary records that heavy snow had fallen around Ploegsteert and consequently no patrols were sent out that day. The enemy opened with howitzer fire just after dawn, assisted by its aeroplanes which remained overhead directing fire without opposition. Allied planes only appeared after the enemy fire had ceased.

Amoungst the casualties inflicted were several in the 44th Battalion, including three killed. CQMS Bertrand was one of them - the others being Private Robertson and Private McAllister. All are buried, beside each other, in the Berks Military Cemetery Extension, Comines-Warneton, Belgium.

Vernon Alexander Charles Bertrand (1916-2009) was never to know his father. Grace Berry was to marry Charles Frederic Isaacs (1898-1961) in 1924. Grace died at Perth in 1956 aged 67.