Albert Herbert BOUQUET

Poppy

BOUQUET, Albert Herbert

Service Number: 103
Enlisted: 25 August 1914
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Bega, NSW, 12 August 1894
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Convent School, Bega, NSW
Occupation: Chauffeur
Died: Killed in action, Pozieres, France, 23 July 1916, aged 21 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

25 Aug 1914: Enlisted
20 Oct 1914: Involvement Private, SN 103, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
20 Oct 1914: Embarked Private, SN 103, 3rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Sydney
23 Jul 1916: Involvement SN 103, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Albert's Story

Albert was the sixth of eight children born to Louis Nicholas Bouquet and his wife Ellen Twigg. He was 20 years of age and working as a chauffeur, when he enlisted in the AIF in Sydney on 25 August 1914. He was a member of the Commonwealth Citizens Forces and was one of the first to join the AIF, his service no. being #103. His service records give a description of a fit young man - 20 years of age, 5' 7" tall, weighing 9stone 7lbs, with a 36inch chest measurement, dark complexion, dark grey eyes, dark hair. He was Roman Catholic and had been educated at the Convent School, Bega.

He was allocated to the 3rd Battalion and after brief training, embarked at Sydney per H.M.A.T. A14 "Euripides" on 24/10/1914.

The EURIPIDES was a 14,947 gross ton ship built in 1914 by Harland & Wolff, Belfast for the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line. Her details were - length 550.7ft x beam 67.4ft (167,85m x 54,00m), one funnel, two masts, refrigerated cargo space, triple screw and a speed of 15 knots. There was accommodation for 140-1st, 334-2nd and 750-3rd class passengers. Launched on 29th Jan.1914, she was the company's largest ship and made a "shake down" cruise in June with guests. Her maiden voyage from London to Brisbane started on 1st July and she arrived on 24th August. On 26th Aug.1914 she was taken over at Brisbane for Australian trooping duties, but reverted to UK government control in 1915 and continued London - Australia voyages, her third class accommodation being used mainly for troops. In Feb.1919 she commenced repatriating Australian troops, and during this and her war service steamed 208,307 miles and carried 38,439 troops.

Albert took part in the Gallipoli campaign and was reported missing on 29/4/1915. However he returned to his unit and was admitted to hospital on 16 May with influenza. On 12/7/1915 he was admitted to No. 2 General Hospital, Gezirah near Cairo and on 9/8/1915 was admitted to the hospital ship "Devenna" with a gunshot wound to the finger. Gezirah was formerly one of the Egyption royal palaces and an elegant hotel before being used by the Australians as the No. 2 General Hospital, after Mena House was unable to cope with the huge number of casualties from Gallipoli. On 21/8/1915 Albert was transferred to No.2 General Hospital, Mena with a bullet wound to the hand and 3 days later was admitted to the British Red Cross Convalescent Hospital at Montazah, Alexandria. Mena House was requisitioned by Australian troops in 1914 and became a hospital towards the end of the war. It was originally a hunting lodge and hotel, famous for its turned wood spool work, and great dining hall which was an exact replica of a Cairo mosque. Many famous travellers have stayed there, including the Prince of Wales, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Field Marshall Montgomery and Sir Winston Churchill. Today it is known as the The Mena House Hotel, in Giza near the Pyramids. On 11/9/1915 Albert transferred to Mustapha Base from the Red Cross Convalescent Hospital and embarked for the Front per H.T. "Karoo" from Alexandria on 19/9/1915, rejoining his unit on 29th September.

At Christmas time 1915, Albert would have received a gift tin containing chocolates and a postcard which were distributed to Australian soldiers by the Australian War Contingent Association in London.

'TO THE AUSTRALIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE FROM THE AUSTRALIAN WAR CONTINGENT ASSOCIATION, LONDON. "A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL."'.

The tin originally contained Fry's chocolate, with the yellow, black and orange label reading 'FRY'S ROYAL CHOCOLATE 300 GRANDS PRIX, GOLD MEDALS, ETC. Makers to H.M. THE KING, H.M. THE QUEEN and H.M. QUEEN ALEXANDRA.' In the top left corner of the label is the British royal coat of arms, and in the right is Queen Alexandra's coat of arms. 'BY APPOINTMENT' is printed below each coat of arms. The gift tin also contained a novelty postcard from J. S. Fry & Sons, Ltd. It featuresd a series of red, blue, white, yellow and black circles which represent the colours of the allied forces, Belgium, England, France and Russia. Gently rotating the card produces an optical effect where the circles appear to revolve. (Moruya and District Historical Society Blog, 31/7/2014).

On 17 February 1916, Albert was promoted to Corporal but spent 2 days in hospital from 16-18 May 1916.

Albert was killed in action in France just 9 days after being promoted to Lance Sergeant of "B" Company.

Witness reports of his death state that Albert was in a trench with 3 others when a shell burst in front of them at about 10am on 23rd July 1916 at Pozieres. Albert was severely wounded in the groin and died about five minutes afterwards. He was initially buried in the vicinity of Pozieres and his personal effects comprising 1 pair of slippers, scarf, money case, brush, curios, writing wallet, 3 handkerchiefs, belt, cards, photos, pipe bow and leather bag were returned to his mother, who was then living at Eden Street, Bega (as per his will dated 24 April 1915). Albert was "very popular and well known in the Battalion" and "one of the Battalion footballers and a good sport, generally, and was very well liked by all the boys. He was one of the best".

The Battle of Pozières was a two week struggle for the French village of Pozières and the ridge on which it stands, during the middle stages of the 1916 Battle of the Somme. The Australians suffered more than 23,000 casualties in just six weeks at Poziers including an estimated 7,000 killed or missing, in an area of no more than a few square kilometres. Though British divisions were involved in most phases of the fighting, Pozières is primarily remembered as an Australian battle. The fighting ended with the Allied forces in possession of the plateau north and east of the village, and in a position to menace the German bastion of Thiepval from the rear. However, the cost had been enormous, and in the words of Australian official historian Charles Bean, the Pozières ridge "is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth."

A member of the 5th Battalion Signals Corps, Horace Parton, described the battle in a letter home to his Mother - "We had on our fighting equipment which consisted of 150 rounds, our haversack, our water bottle, trenching tool, rifle and bayonet, and as extras we had 200 reserve cartridges, a bomb in each pocket, a telephone, and a signalling lamp, slung round our neck. We were under continual shrapnel and shellfire all the way to the front trenches. After three days in the position, we were relieved, we had no sleep during that time and were utterly fagged out. Of the horrors of those days, I will say nothing. Too much cannot be said of the wonderful work done by the stretcher bearers, they are the real heroes of this war, we can duck and dodge the shells, etc, but they have to carry the stretchers amid it all, I take my hat off to them. The wounded were wonderful, not a complaint or murmur from them, Oh Mum, our race is a great one."

A large walled structure about a kilometre along a road called 'First Australian Division Street' in Pozieres, is the Pozières British Cemetery. It was to that cemetery that the soldiers of the First Division came on 8 July 1917 to gather for a commemorative ceremony around a large wooden cross. The cross had been erected in memory of those men of the division who had lost their lives in the battles around Pozières between July and September 1916. In those actions the division estimated that it had taken 7,700 casualties of whom 5,285 (68 percent), had been killed or wounded on just four days: 23-26 July 1916.



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