Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Henry Hill, Victoria, Australia

General information


Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
 —  Australian Field Artillery, 53rd Bty. 14th Bde.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Polygoneveld, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


The Huts Cemetery
Plot: IX
Row: C
Grave: 9

Distinctions and medals 3

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

My story

Gunner Eric Burgess served in the 53rd Battery, part of the 14th Field Artillery Brigade of the 5th Australian Division. He previously served in the 23rd Bn. Australian Infantry in Gallipoli. He was wounded in 1915 and again in 1916 in Pozières, France. After his second evacuation Eric was transferred to the 14th Australian Field Artillery Brigade. Eric was "claimed" by his brother, Joseph Bird Burgess, and transferred to the 53rd Battery of the 14th Field Artillery Brigade. Joseph probably wanted his little brother by his side.

On October 4 1917, the 14th Field Artillery Brigade took part in the Battle of Broodseinde, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. His artillery Brigade, along with the 13th, set up their guns between the hamlets of Polygoneveld and Westhoek. Both brothers, served at the same gun. They had to provide artillery support for the 2nd Australian Infantry Division. The attack started in the early morning with a heavy artillery barrage on the German positions.

At about 7 am, both the 13th and 14th artillery brigades were targeted by the German artillery. A German shell hit the ammunition stack of the gun of Eric and Joseph Burgess. The explosion killed the entire crew of four soldiers, together with a soldier and an officer of another battery close by. Joseph and his brother died side-by-side and were buried next to each other at The Huts Cemetery.

Connection to other soldiers 1

Files 1

Sources 9

"Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-18 Vol. IV The A.I.F. in France 1917", C. E. W. Bean, Angus and Robertson Ltd., 1943, 839.
Sources used
"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 99.
Sources used
Australian War Memorial
Sources used
Sources used
National Archives of Australia
Sources used
The AIF Project
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary A.I.F. Headquarters, 14th Australian Field Artillery Brigade
Sources used
War Diary A.I.F. HQ, 5th Australian Artillery Brigade
Sources used