John Smithson BREAKSPEAR


BREAKSPEAR, John Smithson

Service Number: 555
Enlisted: 7 September 1915, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Gunner
Last Unit: 36th Heavy Artillery Group
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, 1 January 1896
Home Town: Sydney, City of Sydney, New South Wales
Schooling: Cleveland Street Superior School
Occupation: Ledger keeper
Died: Accidental Death (GSW), Vieux-Berquin, France, 3 September 1918, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Le Grand Hasard Military Cemetery, Morbecque
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

7 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Sydney, New South Wales
10 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 555, Siege Artillery Brigade
10 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 555, Siege Artillery Brigade, HMAT Orsova, Sydney
3 Sep 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Gunner, SN 555, 36th Heavy Artillery Group, "The Last Hundred Days"

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


At an Inquiry into the death of Gnr. Breakspear, his friend 823 Gnr. Christopher Alan Bugg (/explore/people/166374) stated:-

"At about 12.30 hours on the 3rd September 1918, I, in company with Gunner Breakspear, left the Battery for a walk. We proceeded beyond Vieux Berquin to a distance of about two miles. We were looking around positions which had been recently vacated by the enemy.

I saw Gnr. Breakspear standing outside a German dug-out at about 12 or so paces from where I was standing. Shortly afterwards I heard the report of a rifle quite close, and turning round I saw Gnr. Breakspear fall. I immediately ran over to him. He was lying on his back, and a German rifle was at his side, a foot or so away. He said to me "Good-bye, old man, I'm done..." - from his Service Record ( p.14

"BREAKSPEAR.- Killed in action, in France, September 3, 1918, Gunner John S. Breakspear, 1st Heavy Siege Battery, aged 23 years, dearly loved brother and brother-in-law of Arthur and Lily Breakspear, of Wentworth-street, Randwick, after 3 years on active service." - from the Sydney Morning Herald 28 Sep 1918 (