Next of Kin plaque: Gunner Ernest Edwin Woodland, 54th Battery, 36th Heavy Artillery Group, AIF

Place Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Pas de Calais, Arras, Athies
Accession Number AWM2016.614.1
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Plaque
Physical description Bronze
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c 1922
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Bronze next of kin plaque, showing on the obverse, Britannia holding a laurel wreath, the British lion, dolphins, a spray of oak leaves and the words 'HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR' around the edge. Beneath the main figures, the British lion defeats the German eagle. The initials 'ECP', for the designer Edward Carter Preston appear above the lion's right forepaw. A raised rectangle above the lion's head bears the name 'ERNEST EDWIN WOODLAND'. A checker's mark, '31', is stamped into the plaque behind the lion's left back paw. The plaque is contained in its original heavy brown carboard sleeve.

History / Summary

Nineteen year old Ernest Edwin Woodland was employed as a clerk at Messrs Sanderman and Co's Wine and Spirit Stores in Sydney when he enlisted in the AIF on 27 December 1915, with the permission of his parents. As he had served in the militia with the Australian Garrison Artillery he was assigned as a reinforcement gunner, service number 664, for the Siege Artillery Brigade.

Woodland left Sydney on 9 April 1916 aboard HMAT Nestor. After training in England he arrived in France in January 1917, and joined the 54th Battery of the 36th Heavy Artillery Group on 24 February. He was killed in action on 30 April. Bombardier Wilfred Eric Ellis, working on the opposite side of the gun, later recalled: 'I saw Woodland killed by a shell...we were on the gun in action, and there was a big hole in his chest and he was killed at once, it was near St. Nicholas about 3 in the afternoon and he was buried at 5 the same afternoon 300 yards from where he was killed. I was within a few feet of him when it happened. He was on one side of the gun, I was on the other.'

Woodland was initially buried at L'Abbayette, but in October 1917 was reinterred in the Athies Cemetery near Arras. This commemorative plaque was sent to his parents, Edwin and Anna Woodland, in September 1922.