Pte
Michael Francis Starr

Informatie over geboorte

Geboortejaar:
1889
Geboorteplaats:
Bendigo, Victoria, Australië

Algemene Informatie

Beroep:
Klerk - Bediende
Geloof:
Roman Catholic

Informatie legerdienst

Land:
Australië
Strijdmacht:
Australian Imperial Force
Rang:
Private
Service nummer:
3464
Dienstneming datum:
03/08/1915
Dienstneming plaats:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australië
Eenheden:
 —  Australian Infantry, 6th Bn.  (Laatst gekende eenheid)

Informatie over overlijden

Datum van overlijden:
04/10/1917
Plaats van overlijden:
Romulus Wood, België
Doodsoorzaak:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Leeftijd:
28

Gedenkplaats

Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial
Paneel: Bay 7 stone M

Onderscheidingen en medailles 3

1914-15 Star
Medaille
British War Medal
Medaille
Victory Medal
Medaille

Extra informatie

Private Michael Francis Starr served with the 6th Battalion AIF (part of the 1st Australian Division, 2nd Australian Brigade). The former clerk enlisted on the 3rd August 1915 in Melbourne, VIC, age 26. In October 1915 he sailed from Australia to Egypt and served at the Western Front together with 3 of his brothers: Patrick James, Philip Henry and John Robert. They were the sons of Mary Starr and the late Michael Starr from Healsville, Victoria.

On 27th December 1916 he was admitted to the hospital in France, and later England, suffering from trench feet. He returned to duty 10th June 1917.

The 1st Australian Division participated in the Battle of Broodseinde, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres 1917. The Division had to advance on the right of the village of Zonnebeke and had to capture and secure the Broodseinde Ridge and a part of the Passchendaele-Beselare Road. Its attack was carried by two Brigades. The 1st Australian Brigade and 2nd Australian Brigade. The 2nd Australian Brigade firstly attacked with the 8th Battalion. Once they had captured the first objective the 6th and 7th Battalions would move through to the second objective.
The 6th battalion moved into position at about 02.00 a.m. on 4 October 1917. While the Battalion was waiting till the sign to attack the German artillery laid down a very heavy barrage on the line. Many Australians were caught in the open and the Battalions in the line suffered heavy casualties. The German shelling did not indicate any pre-knowledge of an Australian attack, but was a precursor to a German attack that was due to commence coincidentally with the Australian attack. When the German infantry attacked they were caught in the allied barrage, which preceded the Australian assault. The barrage drove everything beyond it, inflicting very heavy casualties on the German defenders. The German soldiers had almost no place to hide. The ones that did survive the heavy shelling were quickly dispersed, killed or taken prisoner by the advancing troops. Even the Germans in the concrete strongpoints were utterly shocked. Most of them surrendered without putting up a fight.
The main resistance of the 6th Battalion’s advance came from a large crater, near Retaliation Farm, in which a pill-box was situated. This position supported by other nearby posts. Bombing parties of the 6th Battalion quickly outflanked the positions and eventually managed to silence or capture the defenders.
Meanwhile the 8th Battalion had advanced through the marsh and tree stumps of Romulus and Remus Woods, north of the hamlet of Molenaarelsthoek. They arrived at the first objective, the red line, around 07.15 a.m. Around 08.00 a.m. the 7th and 6th Battalions moved through the 8th Battalion and carried on the advance. They quickly captured the summit of the ridge. While passing west of Celtic Wood, the 6th Battalion was now fired upon from distant machine gun positions on the Keiberg. At one stage the advance on Celtic Wood was halted by a German strongpoint. It was silenced by a Lewis gun team and by noon, the Australians had consolidated their positions astride the ridge. No counter-attacks were launched and the battalion kept on holding the line till they were relieved on the next day.

Private Michael Francis Starr, age 28, was reported wounded and missing during the Australian attack on 4 October. In his Red Cross Wounded and Missing file witnesses mention him being killed by a shell, injuring his head. Micheal Frances worked as a signaller and was killed at Romulus Wood and buried somewhere about Remus Wood according to Lt. Christian.

After the war his body was never recovered. Today he is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, Bay 7, stone M.

His younger brother Patrick James Starr, also in the 6th Bn. AIF, was killed in action that same day. He too is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial. Two other brothers Philip Henry and John Robert returned safely to Australia.

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