Albert Chalmers BORELLA VC, MM, MID

BORELLA, Albert Chalmers

Service Numbers: 275, V81550
Enlisted: 15 March 1915, Townsville, Qld
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 51 Garrison Company
Born: Borung near Kongvale, Victoria, Australia, 7 August 1881
Home Town: Tennant Creek, Barkly, Northern Territory
Schooling: Borung and Wychitella State Schools,, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Natural Causes, Albury, New South Wales, Australia, 7 February 1968, aged 86 years
Cemetery: Albury Pioneer Cemetery, New South Wales
Burial: 09/02/1968. Grave Location: Section-Presyterian/Row B/Lot 12 (Grave).
Memorials: Albert Borella Memorial, Borung and District Pictorial Honor Roll, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, North Bondi War Memorial, Winchelsea WWI Memorial, Womboota Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

15 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Townsville, Qld
15 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, HMAT Ascanius A11
24 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 275, 26th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Brisbane
24 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 275, 26th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
12 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 275, 26th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
29 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 275, 26th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
1 Mar 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 275, 26th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
28 Aug 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 26th Infantry Battalion
1 May 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 26th Infantry Battalion, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front"
23 Feb 1919: Discharged AIF WW1

World War 2 Service

15 Oct 1939: Enlisted SN V81550
8 May 1945: Discharged Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Captain, SN V81550, 51 Garrison Company

Awarded the Military Medal

'For conspicuous bravery in action. This Sergeant in the attack on MALT TRENCH, north of WARLENCOURT on the night of the 1st/2nd March, 1917, did splendid work. After taking a leading part in the furious fighting on the right of the Battalion objective he assisted Lieutenant WARD in re-organising the men and consolidating the line. Throughout he displayed the greatest coolness and devotion to duty.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 140
Date: 27 August 1917

AWM Honours and Awards


Awarded the Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery in attack. (near Villers Bretonneaux 17 July 1918) Whilst leading his platoon with the first wave, Lieutenant Borella marked an enemy machine gun firing through our barrage. He ran out ahead of his men into the barrage, shot two German machine gunners with his revolver, and captured the gun. He then led his party, now reduced to ten men and two Lewis guns, against a very strongly held trench, using his revolver, and later a rifle, with great effect, causing many enemy casualties. His leading and splendid example resulted in the garrison being quickly shot or captured. Two large dug outs were also bombed, and thirty prisoners taken. Subsequently the enemy twice counter attacked in strong force, on the second occasion outnumbering Lieutenant Borella's platoon by ten to one, but his cool determination inspired his men to resist heroically, and the enemy were repulsed, with very heavy losses.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 23
Date: 12 February 1919

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Borella, Albert Chalmers (1881–1968)

A comprehensive biography by Jean P. Fielding ( is contained in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography (, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979

Albert Chalmers Borella (1881-1968), soldier and farmer, was born on 7 August 1881 at Borung, Victoria, son of Louis Borella, farmer, and his wife Annie, née Chalmers, both native-born. His mother died when he was 4 and his father remarried. Educated at Borung and Wychitella state schools, he later farmed in the Borung and Echuca districts; he also served for eighteen months with a volunteer infantry regiment, the Victorian Rangers.

From April 1910 Borella was employed by the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Board, Melbourne. He resigned in January 1913 and took up a pastoral lease, drawn by ballot, on the Daly River, Northern Territory. With the help of Aboriginal boys he built a house and ring-barked and partly fenced his holding before mounting costs forced him to abandon it early in 1915......................

See the rest of Albert Borella's ADB biography here - Albert Chalmers Borella (

Not mentioned in the ADB biography above is the fact that Albert Borella rode from Tennant Creek to Darwin and then travelled by ship to Townsville in order to enlist in the AIF.  A re-enactment of this feat will be the basis of the NT's major event during the Centenary of ANZAC.  Follow the links to find out more.

Borella's Ride ( - more (

Albert Borella embarked with the 26th Battalion, drawn largely from Queensland, as part of the 7th Brigade in the 2nd Division.

The 2nd Division landed at Gallipoli on 12 September 1915 and remained until the evacuation.  

In mid 1916 the 2nd Division was in action near Pozieres and Albert Borella was wounded on 19th July necessitating evacuation and rehabilitation for four months.  By  the time he returned the 26th Battalion and the rest of the 7th Brigade were toughing it out near Guedecourt in the worst winter in living memory.

The 7th Brigade featured prominently dueing the follow up of the German consolidation back to the Hindenburg line in March  / April 1917.  Near the Butte de Warlancourt a German defensive complex known as Malt Tench and the Loupart Bastion was the subject of repeated but ultimately unsuccessful attacks by the 7th Brigade.  Albert Borella, by now a sergeant, was awarded a Military Medal for his actions.  Shortly afterwards he was commissioned, Mentioned in Despatches (MID) and sent to the UK for Officer Training.

Borella missed the fighting at Third Ypres.  He retuned to the Battalion in late 1917.  In March the great German offensive broke over the Allied lines and the Australians found themselves being used to plug gaps.  Le Hamel marked the beginning of a new phased and proved the tactics that were to take the Australians through the Last Hundred Days later in the year.  But first, preparations were made via "Peacefull Penetration" to straighten the line out ready for the big Allied offensive.  It was in the course of this action that Albert Borella was awarded the Victoria Cross (see citation in accompanying story).

Shortly after this he was detached to the UK and then in September 1918 he returned to Australia.

His post war life is described in the ADB biography.

Albert Borella was one of four brothers who served in WW 1 - all survived to return to Australia.   6224 Pte Charles BORELLA, 7th Bn, 1949 Pte James BORELLA, 7th Bn; 1949 Pte Rex Thomas BORELLA, 8th Light Horse Regiment.

He also had service in WW2.  He served as a Lieutenant in the 12th Australian Garrison Battalion and was later attached to the Prisoner of War Group at Rushworth; promoted to Captain on 1 September 1942.  He served with the 51st Garrison Company at Myrtleford until the end of the war.

Albert Boreall died in 1968 in Albury NSW