Wilfred Percival AVERY

AVERY, Wilfred Percival

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 23 December 1914
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: Mining Corps
Born: Mackay, Queensland, Australia, 10 December 1885
Home Town: Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Brisbane Grammar School, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Mining Engineer
Died: Killed In Action, Belgium, 25 April 1917, aged 31 years
Cemetery: Poperinghe New Military Cemetery
Plot I, Row E1, Grave 2 INSCRIPTION - FOR KING & COUNTRY
Memorials: Brisbane Grammar School Memorial Library WW1 Honour Board 1
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World War 1 Service

23 Dec 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, Officer, Mining Corps
20 Feb 1916: Involvement Lieutenant, Mining Corps
20 Feb 1916: Involvement Lieutenant, Mining Corps
20 Feb 1916: Embarked Lieutenant, Mining Corps, HMAT Ulysses, Sydney
20 Feb 1916: Embarked Lieutenant, Mining Corps, HMAT Ulysses, Sydney
25 Aug 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain, Mining Corps, To be Temporary Captain whilst commanding a section of Tunnelling Company
25 Apr 1917: Involvement Captain

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Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

On 25th April 1917, whilst engaged in mining operations beneath Hill 60, Captain Wilfred Avery, aged 31, Australian Tunnelling Corps , was killed as he was inserting electrical detonators into a fifty pound box of guncotton, to be used as a primer for one of the explosive charges.  Standard practice was to test the electrical continuity of the detonators before insertion; Avery chose not to (some say forgot), intending to test the detonators once in the primer, and, by sheer chance, one of the detonators happened to be faulty, ‘supersensitive’, as they called it, the resulting explosion destroying the dugout in which they were working, killing Avery, two lieutenants and eight sappers, and a proto-man was killed attempting to rescue them.  Proto-men, although sounding like something from Doctor Who, were so-called because of the proto-set they used, a self-contained breathing apparatus designed specifically for mine rescue work. 

Son of John S. and Elizabeth Avery; husband of M. G. Avery, of Victoria Park Rd., Kelvin Grove, Brisbane.

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