Alexander Valentine CUNNINGHAM

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CUNNINGHAM, Alexander Valentine

Service Number: 3459
Enlisted: 14 July 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 5th Infantry Battalion
Born: Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 14 February 1889
Home Town: Hopetoun, Yarriambiack, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Killed In Action, France, 18 August 1916, aged 27 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

14 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3459, 5th Infantry Battalion
11 Oct 1915: Involvement Private, SN 3459, 5th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
11 Oct 1915: Embarked Private, SN 3459, 5th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Nestor, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

Alexander Cunningham enlisted in July 1915 at the age of 26. His father had passed away when he was about 7 years of age, and his mother died just before the war started. Alex was one of four brothers who enlisted, only one of whom survived. The surviving brother 5995 Lance Corporal Alfred John Cunningham 39th Battalion had returned to Australia in 1919. He filled out the roll of honour circular for Alexander from Hopetoun in Victoria which was also Alexander’s main place of association.

Alexander was reported missing at Pozieres and was not confirmed as KIA until a Court of Enquiry was held in June 1917. Several eye witnesses state he was buried and killed by heavy shell fire in the trenches at Pozieres on 18 August 1916.

Alfred indicated he was the only surviving male of the family and had lost his three elder brothers in France, and as such received all of Alexander’s medal entitlements.

The other brothers were 735 Private James Euphrates Cunningham 29th Battalion AIF, killed in action 26 July 1916, near Fromelles and 1521 Pte. Edward William Cunningham 24th Battalion AIF died of wounds in the last battle for the AIF at Montbrehain on 6 October 1918.

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