Aug 31, 2014

Albert Henry BLACKMORE [1894 - 1918]

Albert Henry Blackmore was the third child of John Alexander Blackmore and Edith Caroline Riggs. He was born at Maldon in Victoria, Australia on 7th November 1894.

He had four sisters, Alice born in 1891, then Clarice in 1892, Violet in 1897, Miriam in 1901 and then a brother named Colin that was born in 1904.
Alice was born in Broken Hill in NSW, but died before she reached one year old.

In 1915 Albert decided to enlist in the AIF, so signed up on 19th July 1915 in Melbourne. He was allocated to the 21st Battalion, 4th Regiment, A Company with service number 2116.

He did his training at Broadmeadows Army Camp before departing on the HMAT A20 HORORATA on 24th September bound for the Middle East via Perth, Western Australia.


The following is from the "21st Battalion History Details"

We arrived at Tel-el-kebir in the midst of the first rain storm we had experienced in Egypt and found that the few tents on our camping ground were occupied by our 4th, 5th and part of our 6th reinforcements. After a few days when we had sorted ourselves out we found that we were in camp alongside the 1st Division. Both Divisions were complete with artillery, engineers and all division troops for the first time, our own divisional artillery and engineers having arrived from Australia to join us.

The Battalion stayed at Tel-el-kebir training till the 25th January (1916) when the Division moved out to take over the Canal Zone defences. We travelled by train to Ismailia---Moasar and marched to Ferry Post. Next day we marched from Ferry Post to our defensive position near Hog Back, ten miles in a straight line. After consultation with some who took part in most of our marches, the writer unhesitatingly puts this down as the worst "promenade" we ever did. Every man was fully equipped with extra ammunition, rations and two blankets in addition to the ordinary Etceteras. When we reached the end the ‘Q’ department had failed and we solaced ourselves on Bully beef, biscuits and very little water. And all this in the heat of the Egyptian sun; yes it was some march.

Routine on the Sinai’s Desert was strenuous. Training occupied our time by day, and one night in four each company had a run on outpost duty. We owed a great deal of our efficiency in France to the six weeks spent guarding the Canal. In February the Brigade Machine Gun Company was formed and the Battalion M.G. Officer and Sergeant attended a course of Lewis Gunnery at Ismailia.

The early hours of the 19th March found us in open trucks in the rain once more en route for Alexandria where next day we embarked on the "Minnewaska" for Marseilles. The voyage was pleasant as regards weather but nervy as regards submarines and we were glad to tie up safety alongside a French wharf in the afternoon of the 24th March. The 2nd Division was the first Australian unit in France except the Siege Artillery and the 1st Divisional Motor Transport. This being the case our reception was exceptionally enthusiastic. During our three days train journey from Marseilles to Aire. We were delighted by the sight of the green countryside, the broad sweep of the Rhone and the undoubted warmth of our welcome from the people.

We detrained at Aire on the 27th March (1916) and marched to our first billets in Glominghem; more rain. Thus early in our career we had established that the 21st Battalion moved either in the rain or on a Sunday. At Glominghem we were practiced in route marching on hard roads again, a change from the desert and put through a gas cloud. The 6th Light Trench Mortar Battery, our friends throughout the war came into being at this time. Their little weapon, the Stokes Mortar at once took the fancy of us all and ever since when in trouble we have called for the little guns, and found them at their posts. During our stay at Glominghem, we were reviewed by Lord Kitchener.

"On 4th April we marched towards the line at Fleurbaix staying the first night at Haverskerque (13 miles) and the second at Sailly (10 miles)".

"Once again the first Australian Infantry unit to take the plunge, we left Sailly for the front line on the evening of the 7th April to take over from the 10th Battalion, Lincoln Regt."

Our first days in France were happy days. Glad to be free from the drag of the desert; satisfied with the thought that we were now to take part in a campaign in which there was a possibility of warfare of movement; fit as fiddles, trained to a hair and broken in to the sights and sounds of warfare. We were some Battalion. The idea of warfare of movement remained our dream for more than two years before we actually saw it. Not till the summer of 1918 did we know the joy of having the Hun on the run. Our dreams were then justified and as General Monash has said, we realised that there is no such tonic for weary troops as success.

April 1916

Early June 1916:
Training, rifle cleaning, Church Parades etc in the Rue Marle area of France.

22nd June 1916:

Albert was transferred to England on 22 June, admitted to University War Hospital on 23 June,
Possibly Bacterial and viral infections of the gastrointestinal tract, transferred to Enteric Depot, Woldingham on 8th July 1916. Discharged 25 July 1916.

26th July 1916:
21st Battalion getting ready to hit the Front line at Pozieres.

30th July 1916:
preparing orders for attack on German Lines & making prem. arrangements re keeping direction etc. Taking over the trenches from 23rd Battalion. 21st Battalion to relieve same in the afternoon.

 21st August 1916:
Roue March from Vadencourt to Brickfields near ALBERT. Then to TARA GULLY, SAUSAGE VALLEY & WIRE TRENCH.

at Sausage Valley

By November 1916 the 21st Battalion were in billets at Dernancourt and by the 20th December they were relieving the 59th Battalion at the Front Line.

Early in 1917 they were still in the trenches in France with continual heavy bombardment from the enemy.  This continued through till the end of February 1917.

in hospital for at total of 76 days due to Rat bites.

1st March 1917:
in hospital 37 days due to RAT BITE behind the left ear. Bitten by rats in the trenches at Loupart Bastian. General condition poor. Then in June was again bitten behind the ear by rats. Infected glands large & tender. Heart/pulse rapid. In hospital another 39 days.

"In the cramped trenches, many parasites thrived. The worst of these were the rodents: rats gorged themselves on human remains, and grew to massive sizes: some reported rats as big as domestic cats. The rats would also sometimes eat the fresh rations of the soldiers, and nibble at the soldiers themselves as they slept or if they were wounded. The rodents would attack a corpse's eyes, and then burrow themselves into the bodies. They were a terrible problem: as one pair of rats can produce as much as 880 offspring a year, the trenches were soon crawling with millions of them. Some men made pets of the animals as company, but most rats were fearsome creatures"

1st October 1917:
in October participated in the 3-kilometre advance that captured Broodseinde Ridge, east of Ypres. Like the rest of the AIF the battalion saw out the year recuperating from the trials of the Ypres sector.

"Ypres in the autumn in 1917 was an area of muddy shell holes over which only the paths were corduroy roads and duckboard tracks. These were all well registered by the enemy and movement was difficult in the forward areas. The battle on the 4th October (1917) was a Triumph as also was the following show on the 9th; both however cost us (21st Bn) dearly. In the two shows we lost particularly heavily in officers, thirteen killed outright. The casualties for this period were: -

Officers, 10 killed, 10 wounded, 3 missing, Total 23

Other ranks, 62 killed, 330 wounded, 24 missing,Total 416"

6th November 1917:
Albert Blackmore was back in hospital (for his 22nd birthday!) this time with Typhoid Fever. He certainly had his fair share of 'hospital admissions', two with rat bites and one with Typhoid.

Towards Christmas 1917 the 21st Battalion were back in the Front Line, this time at Ploegsteert and Hill 63 in Belgium.

April 1918:

Albert had now moved from Ploegsteert area to Lavieville area, where the 21st Bn stayed for the rest of April 1918 in the Front Line.

19th May 1918 at
Ville-Sur-Ancre, France
Albert was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty near Albert on 19 May 1918 .......

at the age of 23 years, Albert Blackmore was appointed a Lance-Corporal at Querrieu, Somme, France. This was in June 1918.

19th July 1918:

records show the 21st Battalion at Villers-Bretonneux on 19, 20th, 21st & 22nd .. but on the 23rd July, Albert was wounded in action by being 'gassed' at Villers-Bretonneux.
"at 10:00pm enemy opened a heavy bombardment of
Gas Shells on Villers-Bretonneux and the vicinity ..... "

Three weeks later - on 13th August - Albert rejoined his Battalion, the 21st Battalion in France.

But sadly, just 19 days later, on the first day of the Battle of St Quentin, Albert Henry Blackmore was KIA. It was Sunday 1st September 1918
and he was just age of 23 years. 

The Battle of Mont Saint-Quentin was a battle on the Western Front during World War I. As part of the Allied counteroffensives on the Western Front in the late summer of 1918, the Australian Corps crossed the Somme River on the night of August 31, and broke the German lines at Mont Saint-Quentin and Péronne. The British Fourth Army's commander, General Henry Rawlinson, described the Australian advances of August 31 – September 4 as the greatest military achievement of the war. During the battle Australian troops stormed, seized and held the key height of Mont Saint-Quentin (overlooking Péronne), a pivotal German defensive position on the line of the Somme. 

The 7th Brigade advanced through us on the morning of the 2nd September and inflicted another severe defeat on the Hun, after which he set off hot foot for his next defensive position, the Hindenburg line. We took few prisoners, our numbers being so small and the Huns fighting so desperately, prevented us doing so. We, however captured 58 machine guns and many senior officers were of the opinion that there were more dead Huns after Mont St. Quentin than any other battle on the Battalion front.

Grave marker of eleven members of the 21st Battalion who were all killed in action at Mont St Quentin, France on 1 September 1918 and buried in a mass grave.

Listed on the plaque are:
6817 Sergeant Colin Edward Hunt from Surrey Hills, Victoria; 2116 Lance Corporal (L Cpl) Albert Henry Blackmore, MM from North Maldon, Victoria;
5413 L Cpl Gustaf William Oscar Staaf from Echuca, Victoria; 6833 Private (Pte) Albert Edwin Kelly from Ballarat, Victoria; 6874 Pte Francis William Roberts from Upper Hawthorn, Victoria;
6380 Pte Alfred Roy Smerdon, from Murrayville, Victoria; 6178 Pte William Hugh Thorburn from Newtown, NSW;
664A Pte Edwin Werrett Thompson from Colac, Victoria; 6747 Pte William Francis Dowell from Thornbury, Victoria; 6781 Pte David George Gregory Chandler from North Williamstown, Victoria;
6398 Pte Alexander Walker from Rochester, Victoria.

The above listed were all later moved to individual graves in the Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, France.

Péronne, Somme, Picardie, France
Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension (Plot III, Row L, Grave No. 32), France

Notice in The Argus (Melbourne) 17 Sept 1918

Blackmore - Mr & Mrs Alexander Blackmore, of Maldon, have been officially notified that their son, Lance Corporal Albert Henry Blackmore was killed in action in France on Sept 1. He enlisted in July 1915 when 21 yrs.

at the AWM in Canberra

Albert Henry Blackmore's name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory on:

  • Fri 12 September, 2014 at 1:48 am
  • Fri 31 October, 2014 at 8:49 pm
  • Wed 24 December, 2014 at 11:28 pm
  • Tue 17 February, 2015 at 12:17 am
  • Tue 7 April, 2015 at 5:19 am
  • Tue 19 May, 2015 at 3:04 am
  • Sat 27 June, 2015 at 1:30 am
  • Tue 4 August, 2015 at 1:27 am
These dates and times are estimates. The actual time of projection could change as a result of weather and other factors, so it is advisable to check closer to the date. In the rare event of a temporary loss of electrical power, the names scheduled for display in that period will not appear until the next time listed.

Family connections:

Arthur Geraldton HIGGS embarked on HMAT HORORATA in Perth in October 1915.  Same ship that Albert BLACKMORE embarked on in Melbourne in September.

Arthur HIGGS was KIA 24th July 1916 at Pozieres.

further websites and links that were of great help in the above blog post:

with grateful thanks



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