Patrick WEIR


WEIR, Patrick

Service Number: 3697
Enlisted: 3 January 1917
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Port Adelaide, South Australia, date not yet discovered
Home Town: Birkenhead, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Lefevre Peninsula, Model School, South Australia
Occupation: Boilermaker's assistant
Died: Killed in action, France, 2 September 1918, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

3 Jan 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3697, 5th Pioneer Battalion
10 Feb 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3697, 5th Pioneer Battalion, -9th Reinforcements :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '5' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Seang Bee embarkation_ship_number: A48 public_note: ''
2 Sep 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3697, 27th Infantry Battalion, Mont St Quentin / Peronne

Battlefield Marker a Link to Past

In a war grave on France’s Western Front, Private Patrick Weir lies more than 16,000km and 100 years away from the life he left in Adelaide.
He fell in the World War I battle of Mont St Quentin, hit by machinegun bullets as he stormed the enemy just before dawn.
Joseph Pearson, another Adelaide soldier, saw Pat, as he called him, lying dead in a field.
“He was killed instantly … about 5am, just as we reached our objective and before he jumped in the German trench,” he told a Red Cross wounded and missing inquiry a year later.
Private Maurice O’Connor , of Meningie, told the inquiry his colonel sent men out to try to find Pat Weir because he had been “missing for some time” .
Private O’Connor and a stretcher bearer found Private Weir in a shell hole, with bullet wounds to his head and chest. “He was in a very deep shell hole and we buried him where he was and a cross has been erected,” he said. Private Weir was 35 when he died on September 2, 1918.

In January, 1920, his remains were moved to the Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, now the resting place of 488 Australian casualties of World War I.
The town was taken from the Germans by the 2nd Australian Division, on the day before Private Weir died. That wooden cross, which originally marked his battlefield grave, came back to Adelaide after the war and, some decades ago, was embedded in the Weir family plot at Cheltenham Cemetery.

In 2017, at the request of Adelaide Cemeteries Authority, and with the permission of the family, the cross was replaced with a replica. Artlab senior objects conservator Justin Gare says the original cross is made of pine and was “very badly weathered” . He obtained a photograph of it marking Private Weir’s battlefield grave and used that to compare and establish that the cross was genuine. “It was an honour and a privilege for Artlab to work on the preservation,” he says. “The cross is such a rare and unique piece of war history. We are pleased that the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority shares our commitment to ensuring the state’s heritage is preserved for future generations.” The cross is now on permanent display at the Army Museum of South Australia at the Keswick Army Barracks. Although the display is a moving tribute to Private Weir, and to all Australian soldiers by association, Mr Gare has reservations about the way the cross is displayed. “I did recommend it should always be horizontal but I see they’ve got it standing up,” he says.
The reason he believes it should not be vertical is because the paint on the lettering is in such poor condition it is likely to fall off.

Adelaide Cemeteries Authority chief executive officer Robert Pitt says the cross is one of few remaining relics directly connecting Adelaide to the battlefields of France in World War I.
“It’s a sobering reminder of the impact that the war had on South Australian families and it’s entirely appropriate that it goes on permanent display at the army museum,” he says.
Private Weir’s nephew, who is also named Patrick, says the family was hugely honoured that Private Weir’s memory would be preserved. The display was unveiled at the museum in April 2019.

At the time of his enlistment, in early 1917, Patrick Weir was employed by Adelaide Steamship Company. He was unmarried but left behind his father, Captain Patrick Weir, who was the harbourmaster at Port Adelaide, his mother, Helen and three brothers and two sisters.

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