Victor Randolph PORTENER

PORTENER, Victor Randolph

Service Number: 405
Enlisted: 10 January 1916, Perth, WA
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 44th Infantry Battalion
Born: Toxeth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, UK, 26 October 1890
Home Town: Perth, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Driver
Died: KIA - bombed by aeroplane, France , 27 May 1918, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery
Plot X, Row D, Grave No. 9, Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Guildford St. Matthew's Anglican Church Honour Roll, Guildford St. Matthew's Anglican Church Men Who Laid Down Their Lives Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

10 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 405, 44th Infantry Battalion, Perth, WA
6 Jun 1916: Involvement Private, 405, 44th Infantry Battalion
6 Jun 1916: Embarked Private, 405, 44th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Suevic, Fremantle
27 May 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 405, 44th Infantry Battalion

Help us honour Victor Randolph Portener's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Victor Randolph PORTENER was born on 26th October, 1890 in Toxeth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, England - one some records his middle name is spelt Rudolph

His parents were Theophilus Frederick PORTENER and Janet/Jessie COMRIE who married in England in 1883

Victor came to Australia aged 15 years on the ship RUNIC along with his Mother and 8 siblings, Florence, Jessie, Lottie, Casper, James, William, Jane & Leonard which left Liverpool, UK on 16th November, 1905 and arrived in Albany (King Georges Sound) WA on 23rd December, 1905 - his father came at a different time and died in 1935 in Sydney & his mother died in 1924  - they are both buried in Woronora Cemetery in Sydney

Victor married Grace Brunette BARKER on 29th March, 1916 in Guildford, Western Australia

He had served for 1 year with the WA Highlanders before he enlisted in Perth, WA on 10th January, 1916 and embarked with the 44th Infantry Battalion (B Company) on 6th June, 1916 leaving from Fremantle, WA on the ship SS Suevic

Victor died on 27th May, 1918 when he was in a boat which was bombed by a German Aircraft and he drowned in the River Somme near Amiens - he was buried nearby & was later reinterred in the Villers Bretonneux Cemetery in France

His name is memorialised on the Australian War Memorial and he was awarded the British War Medal & the Victory Medal


Trove articles - IN MEMORIAM

"Who knows the silent heartache - only those can tell

who have lost their best and dearest - without a last farewell"


PORTENER,  Victor Randolph, killed in action May 27th, 1918, beloeved husband of Grace Brunetta Portener

"They miss him most who loved him best"

"Gone, but not forgotten" inserted by his sorrowing parents, brothers & sisters.


Husband of Grace Brunetta PORTENER of the corner of James & Olive Streets, Guildford, Western Australia


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Pte 405 Victor Randolph Portener
44th Australian Infantry Battalion, B Company, 11th Brigade, 3rd Australian Division
On the peaceful and serene fields of the Somme, rest in peace, under the shadows of their rows of white tombs, a whole generation of young men who here, in the trenches and the battlefields which the poppies have covered with their red petals, fought and fell alongside their friends, their comrades who stand today proudly, silent and smiling on these soils of France for which they did and gave so much in the comradeship, in the mateship in which they served and which always united them in the white and flowered cities in which they found the peace for which they fought and for which they gave their today, their lives so that we can have a tomorrow and have the honor and the privilege of honoring their memory , to carry high and proud the flame of remembrance to bring them back to life and remember them so that they will never be forgotten and here, in the Somme, we will always have for these men,these young boys, the deepest gratitude, we will always watch over them with the deepest respect to share and bring to life their memory, their stories and will be forever in our hearts, our heroes, our sons.

Today, it is with the deepest gratitude, with respect and with my heart that I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme who came from far away and who gave his life on the soils of France.I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 405 Victor Randolph Portener who fought in the 44th Australian Infantry Battalion, B Company, 11th Brigade, 3rd Australian Division, and who was killed in action 103 years ago, on May 27, 1918 at the age of 27 on the Somme front.

Victor Randolph Portener was born on October 26, 1890 in Toxeth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, and was the son of Theophilus Frederick Portener and Jessie Portener (née Comrie) who were married in England in 1883.Victor came to Australia aged 15 years on the ship Runic along with his mother and 8 siblings, Florence, Jessie, Lottie, Casper, James, William, Jane and Leonard which left Liverpool, England, on November 16, 1905 and arrived in Albany (King Georges Sound) Western Australia on December 23, 1905.His father came at a different time and died in 1935 in Sydney and his mother died in 1924,they are both buried in Woronora Cemetery in Sydney. Victor married Grace Brunetta Portener (née Barker), of Corner James and Olive Streets and lived at 87 James Street, Guildford, Perth, Western Australia, where Victor worked as a driver and before the outbreak of the war he served for a year in the Western Australian Highlanders.

Victor enlisted on January 10, 1916 at Perth, Western Australia, in the 44th Australian Infantry Battalion, B Company.The 44th Battalion was raised at Claremont, Western Australia in February 1916 and soon became known as "Old Bill's Thousand" after its first commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel William Mansbridge.

After a five month training period at Claremont Training Camp, Victor embarked with his unit from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A29 Suevic on June 6, 1916 and sailed for Plymouth, England, where he was disembarked on July 21, 1916,and four months later, on November 22, 1916, he was appointed Lance Corporal.

On November 25, 1916, Victor embarked with his battalion from Southampton, England, and proceeded overseas for France and marched in to the 3rd Division Training School on January 28, 1917 and taken on strength with the 44th Australian Infantry Battalion in the sector of Armentieres in a very cold winter, moving between the front line, training and labouring to the rear of the line. On March 13, 1917, Victor and the 44th Australian Infantry Battalion attempted an enemy raid into enemy trenches at Armentieres. This raid was not successful due to the high rate of casualties (9 Killed in action, 42 wounded. 12 missing).

A little over two weeks later, on March 30, 1917, Victor was promoted to the rank of Temporary Corporal and was slightly wounded the same day at Ploegsteert and remained with the 44th Infantry Battalion and then fought at Ypres, Messines and Broodseinde.Four months later, on July 9, 1917, he was reverted to the rank of Lance Corporal then reverted to the rank of Private on July 17 and in October he fought with the 44th Australian Infantry Battalion at Polygon Wood and Ypres.

Five months later, in early March 1918, the German army launched its last major offensive and Victor and the 44th Australian Infantry Battalion were sent to the Somme and played a decisive role in preventing the German army from reaching and capturing the vital railway junction of the city of Amiens but unfortunately, it is in the Somme, two months later, on May 27, 1918 that Victor met his fate.

On May 27, 1918 at 10:30 pm, while he was fishing on a boat with two of his comrades on the Somme river, a German plane dropped several bombs, one of which destroyed the boat and killed Victor whose body floated for three days before being found near Amiens. Victor was buried for the first time in the cemetery of Blangy-Tronville, Somme then was re-buried in Villers-Bretonneux.

Today, Victor Randolph Portener rests in peace at Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Somme.
fter Victor's death, his brothers and sisters wrote these few words:
"Who knows the silent heartache, only those can tell,who have lost their best and dearest ,without a last farewell".

"They miss him most who loved him best".
"Gone but not forgotten".

Victor, you who were in the prime of your life, at the dawn of a life full of hopes and promises, it is under the bells of war that you left your home to answer the call of duty and join your comrades who marched through the streets to enlist for what they thought was the greatest adventure of their lives.Young and enthusiastic they put on their uniforms and gathered, ready to embark and do their duty on the other side of the world in the name of justice and freedom after a last farewell in the arms of their loved ones, not without tears in their eyes but hearts full of pride and sailed on calm waters that many would never see again.Little by little, they saw the shores of their country moved away and after several months at sea saw in the distance, the gray clouds of a world at war and were disembarked in France, a country they did not know much but for which they decided to give their all and together, alongside their comrades, they marched in united and united ranks behind their officers who guided them through the poppy fields of the Somme and the villages of northern France where they were very Quickly admired and loved for their courage but also for their humor, they walked with a smile on their young faces, with a confident step, they went forward with determination and pride, they were proud to be there, proud and happy to be alongside their friends with whom they shared their hopes and for whom they were ready to give their lives.brave and determined, they walked for hundreds of kilometers, supporting the weight of their bags and their rifles without ever complaining and joined the trenches already under shell fire and were greeted by the crackle of machine guns under which many of their brothers in arms fell before them.In the mud, thick and sticky, they took their first steps by lowering their heads under their steel helmets because a few meters from them, hundreds of guns were pointed at them.In this world of mud and blood, they lived and endured with bravery the fire of the enemy artillery which rained down on them tons of shells of all sizes from which sometimes lethal gas came out.They lived day and night under the howling of shells tearing the sky and pounding the ground at an incessant rate transforming green and peaceful landscapes into putrid quagmires, into fields of death on which flowed so much blood and tears in attacks as courageous as murderous which ended in bloodbaths in lines of barbed the trenches, these young men gave their youth and became men who knew the price of life by living every day surrounded by death, by the battlefields on which the howls of the dying and wounded were heard and for whom they could do nothing, men to whom they were very close, men who had a life ahead of them and who paid the supreme sacrifice so that others could live.If the poppies could speak, they would tell us about the blood and tears that were shed and the thousands of lives that were broken, but they would also tell us of the courage and bravery that these men showed and with which they acted and fought for each other and watching over each other.They would tell us of the admirable way in which these men held the line being united by an exceptional camaraderie and bravery with which these men went over the top, charging the enemy with their bayonets fixed on their rifles to face the fire of the machine guns which gave them no chance and yet, facing a deluge of bullets and shells , they did not retreat, they moved forward and did their duty with honor and loyalty, to the end, beyond their limits, beyond courage, beyond their strength, they fought and fell together, they did not die in vain because we live in the peace for which they gave their today and in which I have the honor to watch over them, to bring their history to life so that we remember them, who they were and what what they did for us.The war did not have the last word on them because they still live close to us and in each of us by making live their hopes and by protecting the peace for which they gave their lives.For them who gave their lives for us, I would give them mine to keep their memory and their stories alive,to keep the friendship that unites our countries and our families strong, we are all together, united around them to carry the flame of Remembrance, so that these men, our sons, our boys, my boys of the Somme live forever,and for all you have done victor I would like, from the bottom of my heart to say thank you.At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember him, we will remember them.