Robert Lionel Meredith aka Robert Falconer

First Name: 
Robert
Middle Name: 
Lionel
Last Name: 
Meredith aka Falconer
Mother's Name: 
Lydia
Date Enlisted: 
Monday, February 21, 1916
Rank at Enlistment: 
Private
Rank at Discharge: 
Private
Unit: 
45th Battalion
Company: 
C
Service: 
Infantry
Awards: 
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Date of Death: 
Thursday, June 7, 1917
Place of Death: 
Messines, Belgium
Cause of Death: 
Killed in action
Details: 

When 'Robert Falconer' (Service No 2178) enlisted, he stated he was a single 18 year old labourer. Permission for him to enlist was given by his 'next of kin', his aunt, Victoria Falconer, who stated his birth date as 14th September 1897.  Robert also stated his parents were deceased.

Robert's correct name was in fact Robert Lionel Meredith, his age was probably 15, and his mother was still living.

Robert had previously enlisted but his mother found out and had him discharged.  A number of letters from his mother and Victoria Falconer to the Army after his death give some idea of his story.

For some reason he has left home at an early age and disowned his family. After his mother had him discharged from his first enlistment he went to Queensland for a short while, but returned to Sydney, and enlisted again, this time in Bathurst.

Robert embarked on HMAT A18 Wiltshire with the 45th Battalion 4th Reinforcements on 22nd August 1916.  He was taken on strength in France on 20th January 1917.  On 21st March 1917 he was admitted to hospital with influenza but returned to his unit on 16th May 1917.  On 7th June 1917 C Company of 45th battalion was fighting at Messines Ridge and Robert was hit by a shell and killed instantly.  He was 17 years old.

There is no known grave for Robert; he is commorrated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres Belgium.

The Army accepted his mother as next of kin and recorded his true name on the Memorial, and sent his medals to her at Russell Street, Woonona, N.S.W.

Sources: 
NAA: B2455, FALCONER R

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