BRYANT, Albert

Service Number: 263
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 21st Machine Gun Company
Born: Somerset, England , 1886
Home Town: Cardwell, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, France, 15 April 1917
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Cardwell Roll of Honour, Cardwell War Memorial, Qld, Townsville No. 37 Magnetic Lodge P.A.F.S.O.A. Honor Board, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

16 Aug 1916: Involvement Private, 263, 11th Machine Gun Company
16 Aug 1916: Embarked Private, 263, 11th Machine Gun Company, RMS Orontes, Melbourne
15 Apr 1917: Involvement Private, 263, 21st Machine Gun Company

Alfred Bryant

Albert Bryant was born in Wells, Somerset, England in April 1886, one of a large family, and moved to Australia, probably in about 1907. He came to reside at Mission Beach, or Clump Point as the whole area was known in the 1900s. He was first entered onto the electoral roll in February 1915 for Clump Point in the Mourilyan division of the Herbert Electorate.

He shared a block with Adam Edward Dewar who came to the district in 1914. They put in a large banana plantation and citrus orchards. Bryant decided to enlist in the AIF at the age of 29. After Bryant’s death, Dewar moved to Western Australia.

Albert Bryant enlisted on 31 January 1916, at Townsville. After a brief time at Enoggera he left Melbourne on the troop ship Orontes, arriving at Plymouth on October 2, 1916 having been assigned to the 2nd Reinforcements of the 11th Machine Gun Company (service number 263), which was part of the 11th Brigade, 3rd Australian Division of the AIF. He spent some time in training at Grantham Machine Gun Training Depot in England and he was able to visit his father and sisters while on leave, all of whom had changed greatly in the 11 years since he last saw them. His brother Robert was then on loan from the Royal Navy for three years and serving on the battlecruiser HMAS Australia and they managed to see each other in London briefly.

He finally left for France on 17 March 1917 and was transferred to the 21st Machine Gun Company. He was killed on 15 April, only 28 days later. His party of Support Gunners was in a dugout at Sunken Road near to Lagnicourt. The dugout was surrounded after the enemy broke through the front line and occupied the place for a short time. Only six of his company got away, 21 were taken prisoner and Bryant was shot in the head. When the place was reoccupied his body was found. He was buried close to where he died and a cross was erected.

His is an unknown grave but his name is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (panel 177). This is the Australian National Memorial erected to commemorate the Missing, the Fallen and all Australian soldiers who fought in France and Belgium during the First World War. The memorial records the names of the 10,770 Australian servicemen who died on the battlefields of the Somme, Arras, the German advance of 1918 and the Advance to Victory. The Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, located near Amiens, includes graves brought in from other burial grounds in the area and many unidentified graves from the wider area. The Memorial was unveiled in 1938.

In 1920 Ernie Cook and other returned soldiers in Cardwell commenced a project to erect a Stone to the Fallen in Cardwell. The Council unanimously supported the plan to raise a Memorial near the jetty. The names of Albert Bryant and Hugh Ramsay Butler were inscribed on the monument which remains today in its original location and continues to commemorate the fallen of subsequent conflicts. Council resolved to purchase a portrait of the Villers-Brettonneux Memorial (after the official unveiling by King George VI), which is still held in the J. C. Hubinger Memorial Museum (old Divisional Board Hall), Cardwell.

A significant Tully street along which the council reserve, including the superceded Cardwell Shire Chambers is located, perpetuates the name of Albert Bryant, killed in action in WW1.
Courtesy of The Cardwell and District Historical Society.

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