Service Number: 2030
Enlisted: 29 March 1916, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 36th Infantry Battalion
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, 4 June 1889
Home Town: Marrickville, Marrickville, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Brick-layer
Died: Killed In Action, Messines, Belgium, 9 June 1917, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Strand Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert, Wallonie, Belgium
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

29 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2030, 36th Infantry Battalion, Sydney, New South Wales
24 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2030, 36th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
24 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2030, 36th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Anchises, Sydney
9 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2030, 36th Infantry Battalion, Battle of Messines

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Biography contributed by Glenunga International High School

World War 1, one of the most important and defining wars of all time, started with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, on the 28th of June 1914. World War 1 officially begun on the 28th of July 1914, these events caused Kaiser Williams II to promise Germany to support Austria, as they declared war on Serbia. Soon after Germany declared war on Russia, France, Belgium, and Britain declared war on Germany. The alliances included Britain, Russia, France, Italy, Serbia and the USA known as the Allies, opposing Germany, Austria, Hungary, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria known as the Central Powers. The constant chain of nations declaring war on each other continued, destroying more environments and bringing 14,000,000 lives to an end, 5,000,000 of them being innocent civilians. On the 11th of November 1918, Germany and the Central Powers signed an armistice (a treaty for peace/ a truce,) and officially ended World War 1, giving the Allies a historical victory. 

On the 4th of June 1889, Bert Abrook, was born in Marrickville, New South Wales, with his mother and father (siblings unknown.) Bert worked as a bricklayer living an average civilian life, living with his parents, and did not have any previous military service. Bert Abrook enlisted on the 29th of March 1916 in Marrickville, willingly, without any obligation or encouragement. He embarked on his journey to England on 24/9/1916 and marched to the third division (an infantry division of the Australian Army existing from 1916 to 1991, which is considered the longest serving Australian army division.) From England, he travelled to the war front in France and fought with the 36th Infantry Battalion (raised by Broadmeadow Camp, NSW, and part of the ninth brigade.)

Bert fought and survived, yet to be transferred to the next location, which was Messines, Belgium around the end of May 1917. Bert was escorting two soldiers to an advance post in Messines and was hit by a shell, and unfortunately did not recover, and he passed away on the 9th of June 1917 on the front line, during the Battle of Messines. Bert was a private, and his position was as a runner. A runner is a military courier, which is responsible, for carrying messages by foot from place to place, also the position of history’s most malicious leader, Adolf Hitler in the Bavarian army in World War 1. Runners were a vital position in wars and were extremely important to military communications until telecommunications (transmission of signals and messages, through satellites) were invented and used in the military by nations around the 1950s. Runners must have been fast on their feet, reasonably slim and short, which Bert was as he weighed around 150 pounds and was 5”2 tall, and was a fast runner as he was placed in the running position. As Bert Abrook died in Messines, Belgium, he was buried in the Strand Military Cemetery, located in Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium, shortly after the end of the Battle of Messines on the 14th of June 1917.

He has been commemorated in the Australian War Memorial and Roll of Honour (a list of persons who died serving the Australian military because of war services.) Bert had wished that if he suffered a casualty in the war that his war monies be given to his father, John Henry Abrook. Bert’s mother, Mrs Abrook, after being informed of his son’s death, wished that a photograph of his tomb be taken, as Abrook clearly had a close relationship with his family.



"...2030 Private Bert Abrook, 36th Battalion. A bricklayer in civilian life, Pte Abrook enlisted on 20 June 1916 in Marrickville, NSW. Pte Abrook was a battalion runner, and, while he was escorting two men to an advance post at Messines, was hit by a shell and killed on 9 June 1917, during the Battle of Messines. Aged 29 at the time of his death, he was buried at Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium." - SOURCE (