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.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Corporal
  • Date of Death: 08 August 1915 to 09 August 1915
  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 19 October 1914
  • Place of embarkation: Melbourne

Honours and Awards (Recommendation)

  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: B Company
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation)

  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Mention in despatches

  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 7th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Photograph

H06785

Studio portrait of 384 Corporal Alexander Stewart Burton, VC, 7th Battalion. This portrait was taken prior to embarkation as a private in August 1914 and following his posthumous award of the Victoria Cross, the medal and corporal's stripes were added to the image. Alexander Burton was one of three...

H06785

P09772.007

Group reunion of the 7th Battalion AIF. The men all wear returned service badges on their lapels. The 7th Battalion, was raised by Lieutenant Colonel Harold 'Pompey' Elliott, and along with the 5th, 6th and 8th Battalions formed the 2nd Brigade. The men of the 2nd Brigade all enlisted in Victoria....

P09772.007

Heraldry

Victoria Cross : Corporal W Dunstan, 7 Battalion, AIF

Victoria Cross. Engraved on reverse suspender with recipient's details and on reverse cross with date of award.

REL/03274.001

Victoria Cross : Corporal A S Burton, 7 Battalion, AIF

Victoria Cross. Engraved reverse suspender with recipient's details; reverse cross with date of action.

RELAWM16499.001

Published Collection

Cigarette card of Corporal A Burton VC

Cigarette card showing portrait of Corporal Alexander Burton VC. Part of a series of cards depicting Australian VCs printed by Sniders and Abrahams.

RC09114

Digitised Collection

Diary for Frederick Harold Tubb, 1915

Diary relating to the First World War service of Major Frederick Harold Tubb VC, 7th Battalion. The diary was written by Frederick Tubb between 7 October and 21 November 1915. In the diary, Tubb describes his continued convalescence at 3rd London General Hospital in Wandsworth and meeting another...

RCDIG0000282

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