Philip (Phil) BONHOTE DCM, MM


Service Number: 4445
Enlisted: 19 October 1915, Claremont, Tasmania
Last Rank: Company Sergeant Major
Last Unit: 52nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Forest, Circular Head, Tasmania, Australia, 22 November 1893
Home Town: Smithton, Circular Head, Tasmania
Schooling: Smithton State School, Tasmania, Australia
Occupation: Bank Clerk
Died: Killed in Action, Villers-Bretonnuex, France, 24 April 1918, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Adelaide Cemetery Villers-Bretonneux
(III. R. 4.) Adelaide Cemetery Villers-Bretonneux, France. Although Philip Bonhote has a grave in Adelaide Cemetery it is denoted with the term ' Believed To Be' meaning that although no positive identification could be achieved there is enough reasonable doubt to suggest that the body buried there is that of Philip Bonhote. However, because a 100% match could not be made his name is also listed on the Australian National War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux. , Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Nar Nar Goon Commercial Bank of Australia Limited WW1 Roll of Honour, Stanley Circular Head War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

19 Oct 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Claremont, Tasmania
8 Feb 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 4445, 12th Infantry Battalion,

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '10' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Warilda embarkation_ship_number: A69 public_note: 'Name incorrectly recorded on original roll as: "Bonhoto, Philip"'

8 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 4445, 12th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
5 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Company Sergeant Major, 4445, 52nd Infantry Battalion, Dernancourt/Ancre
24 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Company Sergeant Major, 4445, 52nd Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux

Distinguished Conduct Medal Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When a neighbouring company had lost all its officers and nearly all its non-commissioned officers, he reorganized the leaderless men and maintained the defence, inspiring them by his example of cheerful courage, while, by fine leadership, he materially assisted to hold the line at a critical period.


Recently Mr. Bonhote received word that his son, Philip, had been awarded the military medal. Since then he has received a card which Major General Cox sent to 'Phil' congratulating him on his bravery in his capacity of runner near Mouquet Farm. Expressions like the above are extremely gratifying to the relatives of Philip Bonhote, and one and all join, in expressing the hope that he may be spared to enjoy for many years his highly-won honour.

The North Western Advocate and the Emu Bay Times (Tasmania), Tuesday 5 December 1916.

Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout 

Today, we commemorate the battle of Villers Bretonneux and I would also like to pay a very respectful tribute to the Company Sergeant Major Phillip Bonhote DCM, MM who fought in the 52nd Australian infantry battalion and who was killed in action 102 years ago, the 24 April 1918 at the age of 25 during the battle of Villers Bretonneux🌺

Phillip Bonhote was born in 1892 in Forest, Circular head, Tasmania and he was the son of Ernest and Louisa Jane Bonhote and lived in Smithton, Tasmania.Before the war, he worked as a bank clerk

Enlisted on October 19, 1915 in Claremont in the 12th Australian infantry battalion, 14th Reinforcement and began the journey to the Western Front via Melbourne and Egypt. Philip’s journey to Egypt took him two months on the HMAT Warilda, arriving at Suez on 8 March 1915. Philip trained in Egypt with the 12th battalion, before reembarking on the HMAT Ivernia at Alexandria to arrive at Marseilles on 12 June 1916.

Philip was recommended for the Military Medal on September 12, 1916, for his efforts as a runner in Mouquet Farm. The recommendation states "During the operations at Mouquet Farm he was acting as a runner and was most successful in getting messages through to the firing line despite the heavy barrages, which the enemy put across the intervening ground. He also led the relieving Company into position and guided the remainder of the old Company back ".

Philip was originally recommended for another Military Medal on 12 April 1918, for his actions as part of the battle of Dernancourt. The official recommendation states "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When a neighboring company had lost all its officers and nearly all its non-commissioned officers, he reorganized the leaderless men and maintained the defense, inspiring him by his example of cheerful courage, while by fine leadership, he materially assisted to hold the line at a critical period. ".Due to the impressive nature of the recommendation, Philip’s recommendation was upgraded to the Distinguished Conduct Medal, which he was awarded on 10 May 1918. Philip was the first man in Smithton to be awarded the MM, and therefore it is equally as possible that he was the first to also receive the DCM, and the rare combination of the two.

In addition to Philip’s battlefield achievements, he also undertook many different ranks over the course of the war. Philip was first appointed Lance Corporal and Acting Corporal without pay on April 3rd, 1916. He was reverted to Private 16 days later upon his transfer to the 52nd Infantry Battalion due to the losses during the Gallipoli Campaign and the resulting reshuffle. Philip was promoted once again to Lance Corporal and then Corporal, both on the 16 September 1916. On 6 March 1917, Philip was promoted to Sergeant, and was further promoted to Company Sergeant Major a year later on 14 March.

Whilst Philip had a relatively successful military career, he was put out of the field for a month in 1916 due to a case of the mumps. He spent late October and most of November in a French hospital, before rejoining his unit on the 25 November 1916.

Company Sergeant Major Philip Bonhote was Killed in Action on 24 April 1918 at The Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, Somme, France. Some sources indicate that Philip was ‘sniped after the attack on the day of 24 April, although this isn’t confirmed. The Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux, as a part of the defense from the German Spring Offensive, was an extensively planned night attack in which the Australian 13th and 15th Brigades fought to push back the Germans, who had only captured the town of Villers- Bretonneux on 24 April, before an allied victory was secured on the 25th.
Today, Phillip Bonhote rests in peace at the Adelaide Cemetery, Villers Bretonneux, Somme.

Thank you so much for all that you have done for us Phillip, not only for Australia and France, but for a better world, so that future generations can live and grow in a peaceful world. Tonight, I would be outside at 5:15 am to celebrate ANZAC DAY and it is with a thought for you that I would turn my heart and my thoughts to Australia and New Zealand, all together to remember who you were and everything you and your comrades have done and sacrificed for us. The Somme will always be grateful. We will never forget you. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember him, we will remember them.🌺🇦🇺



Company Sergeant Major Philip Bonhote of Tasmania, was a member of the 52nd Battalion which was a composite WA / SA / TAS Battalion and part of the 13th Brigade. Aged just 25, he had already been awarded  awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal, when his luck ran out on the evening of 24th April 1918 when the 13th Brigade made a counter-attack against the German Spring Offensive at Villers-Bretonnuex.  The headstone is marked "Believed to Be" meaning the remains were not able to be positively identified as his. He is therefore also listed on the Australian National War Memorial at Villers-Bretonnuex.


"Killed in Action. SERGEANT PHIL. BONHOTE.

Quite a gloom was cast over Smithton on Friday when the news was disseminated that Company Sergt.-Major Phil Bonhote had been killed in action. Phil was a popular young man, and was on the staff of the National Bank of Tasmania when he enlisted. He had been some years on active service, and won the Military Medal some time ago for bravery in the field of battle. He was a son of Mr. E. Bonhote (of Smithton) and brother of Miss F. Bonhote (of Melbourne), for whom much sympathy is felt." - from the Stanley Circular Head Chronicle 15 May 1918 (