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18 March 2010

Private Albert George Broadbent of Cherry Gardens

Albert Broadbent was a son of Harry Broadbent and Agnes Broadbent (nee Mackereth) and was born at Cherry Gardens, SA in 1879. He attended Cherry Gardens Public School, but the family must have moved to Western Australia around the turn of the century. Before he enlisted Albert was a farm labourer, well sinker and miner and was living in Dowerin, WA.

He enlisted on 3 April 1916 at the age of 36, and was allocated to the 6th reinforcements to the 5th Pioneer Battalion which embarked at Fremantle, WA on 30 October 1916. After two months training in England Albert joined the 5th Pioneer Battalion on 7 March 1917. Two months later, two days before his 37th birthday, Albert and the rest of 'Don' Company, 5th Pioneer Battalion took over a camp occupied by the 2nd Pioneer Battalion near Bapaume, France. On the night of 9/10 May 1917 and during the following day, while the Second Battle of Bullecourt raged nearby, artillery shells hit the camp, including one shell that made a direct hit on one of the 'Don' Company tents. That single shell killed 12 members of 'Don' Company and wounded a further 23. One of those killed was Albert Broadbent.

Albert was buried in the Vaulx Hill Cemetery (the picture of Albert's grave was taken by Don Watton of Cherry Gardens). His name is inscribed on the Cherry Gardens War Memorial, the Cherry Gardens Methodist (Uniting) Church roll of honour (as AC Broadbent), a stained glass window in the Cherry Gardens Methodist (Uniting) Church, and the Cherry Gardens, Iron Bank, Dorset Vale Districts honour roll.

On 17 March 1919 a photograph of Albert George Broadbent was unveiled at the Cherry Gardens Public School alongside photographs of ten other former students who paid the supreme sacrifice.
Photograph: Courtesy of Don Watton

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