Bertie BEARE

BEARE, Bertie

Service Number: 4
Enlisted: 15 June 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Moonta, South Australia, 22 December 1894
Home Town: Wallaroo Mines, Copper Coast, South Australia
Schooling: Wallaroo Mines Public School, South Australia
Occupation: Shop assistant
Died: Killed in Action, Fromelles, France, 20 July 1916, aged 21 years
Cemetery: VC Corner Cemetery and Memorial, Fromelles, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kadina & District WW1 Roll of Honor, Kadina Memorial High School WW1 Honour Roll, Kadina Town Hall WW1 & WW2 Roll of Honour, Kadina War Memorial Arch, V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery Memorial
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World War 1 Service

15 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia
18 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, 4, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1,

embarkation_roll: roll_number: 17 embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Geelong embarkation_ship_number: A2 public_note:

18 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, 4, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong (A2), Adelaide
19 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, 4, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)

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

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From Alumni Roll of Honour 1914-1918 Australia
Sergeant Beare Bertie, 32nd Bn. AIF

Born 1894 son of Nicholas Beare and Emily Martin, of Moonta Mines, South Australia. Employed as a shop assistant on the outbreak of War. After repeated rejections he was eventually successful in enlisted.

Enlisted 15 June 1915 in Keswick , South Australia and was posted to the 10th Reinforcements but transferred to ‘A’ Coy. 32nd Bn. Australian Infantry on August 16thas a Private being promoted to Sergeant , September 1st.

Embarked, 28 November 1915, at Adelaide per Troopship ‘Geelong’ and disembarked at Suez , Egypt , 18 December 1915. He contracted influenza and was admitted to the 8th Field Ambulance at Ferry Post for a week when on 17 June 1916 he embarked on Troopship ‘ Transylvania’ at Alexandria for France. Disembarked , 23 June 1916 , in Marseille , and entrained for the Western Front.

Posted as missing , 20 July 1916 at Fleurbaix , and only pronounced killed in action by Court of Inquiry in the field on 12 August 1917.

An extract from the War Diary :
July 18th , 1916

‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies moved from billets at Fleurbaix to relieve ‘B’ and ‘D’ Companies.
10.30 pm : ‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies reconnoitered enemy’s wire and No Man’s Land and cut our wire.
July 19th , 1916

‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies repairing trenches.
5.30 pm : ‘A’ and ‘C’ Companies closed the right to take up position for attack.’first and second wave’
5.53 pm : First wave went over the parapet closely followed by the second wave.

6.30 pm : Third and fourth wave attacked. The first and second wave succeeded in reaching the rearmost trench of the German first line system where the consolidation work commenced. Owing to the lack of sandbags that trench system was no more than a muddy, gluey ditch.

8.25 pm : Message was received that the left flank was under heavy German bombardment and artillery assistance as well as reinforcements. Large stores of sandbags and grenades etc..were pushed forward into the sap connecting our lines with the enemy’s but owing to the enemy having smashed in the sap they could not be got forward to our troops in the front.
July 20th , 1916

4 am : By now the enemy was reinforced and attacked the left flank and the Battalion was forced to withdraw . The machine guns were collected and sent back to our own lines. The men were formed up and we charged the enemy’s firing line but owing to the lack of grenades we were unable to push him out so the line was withdrawn to our trenches.
A testimony from Private William Taylor , 32nd Battalion :

‘ My mate George Brighton , 32nd Battalion told me that he had seen Sergeant Beare killed at Armentieres at 8.30am about July 20th , 1916. He stood up and had five shots rapid. He was then called to breakfast and said I’ll have just one more shot when a bullet took him in the middle of his forehead’ ..

Bertie is commemorated on V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial , Fromelles. Age : 21
The family lost dearly as not only Bertie but four cousins also paid the ultimate price.
Lest We Forget



Bertie Beare was born at the Moonta Mines in 1894.

Piror to enlisting in the AIF he had served 1 year with the Senior Cadets 81st Battalion and then 3 years with the 81st Infantry (Citizen Military Forces) with which he was still serving with when he enlisted. He enlisted at Adelaide on the 15th of June 1915 and as a result of his extensive military service he was quickly promoted through the ranks to Sergeant by the 1st September 1915.

He embarked with the A Company, 32nd Battalion at Outer Adelaide on the 18th of November 1915 on HMAT Geelong (A2). After arriving in Egypt the 32nd Battalion went straight into training while the AIF underwent an expansion and reorganisation of its forces. This included the splitting of the 1st Division and the 4th Brigade into two new divisions the 4th and 5th. While this process was happening Bertie Beare was admitted to the 8th Field Ambulance with Influenze. He was discahrged to duty 6 days later.

Once the reorganisation was complete the 32nd Battalion transited the Mediterranean Sea and landing at Marseilles on the 23rd of June 1916. From here they were then moved by train to Northern france, arriving in the Green Fields of France near the 'Nursery' section of the front line near Armentieres and a little village called Fromelles. As soon they arrived the battalion was informed they would partake in the Battle of Fromelles - the first engagment an AIF unit would make on the Western Front. Not only the first attack, the battle, would sear itself forever into Australian history for the number of casaulties suffered.

On the night of the 19/20th of July 1916, A and C Companies of the 32nd Battalion formed up on the exterme left of the 'attack zone' before launching their attack at 6:00pm. The attack was a disaster and within 11 hours of fighting Australian forces had suffered 5,533 casaulties, with just under 2,000 killed including Sergeant Bertie Beare. It is unclear as to how, where and when he died however an eyewitness (PTE 2694 George Brighton) reports seeing him around the morning of the 20th of July 1916 standing up and having "five shots rapid. He was then called to breakfast and said 'I'll have just one more shot' when a bullet took him in the middle of his forehead." After the battle he was orginally listed as Missing in Action, but this status later changed to Killed in Action.

He has no known grave and as a result is memorialised on the memorial to the Missing in VC Corner Cemetery. He was 21 years old.


Memorial Plaque/ Scroll: 329610

1914/15 Star: 24519

British War Medal: 24738

Victory Medal: 24571