Biography

Birth date: 20 January 1893
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Kyneton
Death date: 08 August 1915 to 09 August 1915
Death place: Ottoman Empire: Turkey, Marmara, Gallipoli Peninsula
Final rank: Corporal
Service number: 384 - First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • B Company
  • 7th Australian Infantry Battalion

Alexander Burton was one of three Australian soldiers awarded the Victoria Cross for one particular action during the fighting at Lone Pine, although his was the only posthumous award. Born in Kyneton, Victoria, in 1893, Burton was working as an ironmonger when war broke out. He joined the AIF and was posted to the 7th Battalion. Although he missed the landing on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, he watched it from the deck of a hospital ship, where he was being treated for a throat infection. A week later he was in the trenches, fighting with the 7th Battalion in a number of different areas.

In the early hours of 9 August, at Lone Pine, the Turks launched a strong counter-attack on a newly captured trench held by Burton, Lieutenant Frederick Tubb, Corporal William Dunstan, and others. The Turks advanced up a sap and blew in the sandbag barricade but Burton, Tubb, and Dunstan rebuilt it. The enemy twice more destroyed the barricade but each time was driven off and the barricade rebuilt. Burton was killed by a bomb while he was building up the parapet. He has no known grave, but his name is commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli, and by an oak tree and bridge at Euroa, Victoria.

Citation (abridged):

In the early morning of 9th August the enemy made a determined counter-attack on a newly-captured trench held by Lieutenant Tubb, Corporals Burton, Dunstan and a few men. They advanced up a trench and blew in a sandbag barricade, but Tubb and the two corporals repulsed the enemy and rebuilt the barricade. Strong enemy bombing parties twice again succeeded in blowing in the barricade, but on each occasion the enemy were repulsed and the barricade rebuilt, although Tubb was wounded and Corporal Burton killed while most gallantly building up the parapet under a hail of bombs.

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Rolls and Awards

  • Rank: Corporal
  • Date of Death: 08 August 1915 to 09 August 1915
  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 19 October 1914
  • Place of embarkation: Melbourne
  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Recommended for: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: B Company
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Victoria Cross
  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
  • Awarded: Mention in despatches
  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Timeline

Date of birth 1893-01-20
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1914-08-18 7 Battalion.
Date of embarkation 1914-10-19
Date wounded 1915-04-26 Wounded at Gallipoli.
Date of honour or award 1915-07 Mention in Despatches.
Date promoted 1915-07 Appointed Corporal.
Date promoted 1915-07 Appointed Lance Corporal.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1915-08-08
Date of death 1915-08-08 - 1915-08-09
Date of honour or award 1915-08-09 Awarded Victoria Cross for action at Lone Pine, Gallipoli, Turkey whilst serving with 7 Battalion, 2 Brigade, 1 Division as a Corporal. This was one of seven Victoria Crosses awarded during this action.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1915-08-22
Date of recommendation honour or award 1915-09-01