John Robert Cliffe

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Cliffe, Private John Robert no. 1077.

13th Battalion H Company.

“Iona” Eighth Avenue, Campsie (formerly Floss Street, Hurlstone Park).


Born Brisbane, son of Thomas and Agnes Cliffe.

Educated Blackfriars.

General labourer and miner.

Enlisted at Hurlstone Park 5/10/1914, aged 26.


Church of England.

Embarked from Melbourne on HMAT A38 Ulysses 22/12/1914.

Casualty List SMH21/9/1915 Died of wounds.

Died of wounds 8/8/1915, Chailak Dere, Gallipoli.

Aged 28.

Next of kin, mother, Mrs Agnes Cliffe, “Iona” Eighth Avenue, Campsie.

DT 21/9/1915 Men who fell:

Private J.R Cliffe (died of wounds) went with the 4th Brigade (2nd Contingent) and came through all the fighting unscathed until he met the fatal bullet. He was a single man, and 27 years of age. His mother lives in the Wyalong district. He also leaves three sisters and a younger brother, the latter of whom has enlisted.

C.E.W. Bean v.2 p. 119

From 13th May on, the falling of bombs into the trenches became fairly constant. The fuses were fortunately somewhat long, and there was time for the light horsemen to avoid the explosion by flinging themselves away. In one part the infantry, before leaving, had told the newcomers that it was possible to catch the bombs and hurl them back before they burst. This hint spread along the front, and the Queenslanders began to play at throwing the missiles back, as if it were a game... [The Turks then shortened the fuses] ...A further hint had been obtained from the infantry. Some Australian miner experienced in handling explosives (Pte J.R. Cliffe, 13th Btn, according to one account) had initiated a system of smothering the explosion of the grenades by flinging over them a thick overcoat, or falling upon them with a partly- filled sandbag. This device was adopted with success. Nevertheless from time to time a bomb was missed, or two fell together, and the men nearest to them were torn with terrible wounds. These were then and there bound up, as best as was possible, with the “first field dressings” which each man carried, and the wounded were then passed out to the rear.

Buried New Zealand no.2 Outpost Cemetery. Sp.mem.8

AWM File IDRL428, Letters to the Red Cross re Australian Servicemen:

Lieutenant Colonel J.M.A. Durrant, O/C 13th Battalion, 1st A. G.Hospital, Heliopolis, Cairo, 27/11/1915:

[Died of Wounds 8/8/1915] The 4th Infantry Brigade were to make a night advance in the direction of Hill 971 and link up with the British Force from Suvla Bay. The 13th Battalion led and after rushing successive hills at the point of the bayonet they were crossing a cornfield when they were met by a terrific rifle fire. The men fell flat on the ground in order to protect themselves and the only man that was hit was Private Cliff. He was mortally wounded and died two days later. Curiously enough before starting on this march he said that he felt sure he was going to be killed. He was a splendid fighter as he was afraid of nothing.

Private R. Kirkwood no.870 13th AIF, Luna Park Hospital, Heliopolis, Cairo, 22/11/1915: Cliff was shot through the face as they were advancing towards the left. He was carried away but died very soon.

Buried Cemetery near left bank of Chailak Dere, 200 yards from beach, 2 miles west of Anzac Cove.

Certified by AIF Headquarters 26/8/1919. London, 15/10/1919.

Tele/Mirror list 11/11/1993 Killed in Action 8/8/1915.

Anzac Memorial.

Australian War Memorial record available at: [accessed 30/09/2016].

Special acknowledgement

The primary source of the information on this page is copied from the prize winning publication Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe. This book is the culmination of 12 years (1988-2000) research by a team of volunteers from the Canterbury and District Historical Society led by Dr Lesley Muir. Without this team's effort and dedication and the Society's willingness and support, this information would not be available today.


An uneditable version of the book Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe is in the eBook section of this wiki. In the main section, there is an alphabetical list of the 1,911 individuals recorded in the book - the list is titled Canterbury's Boys List. Each name in the list is linked to an editable biographical file created by copying the biography copied from the book. These editable biographies have been created to provide the space for descendants, historians, researchers, etc to add information, photographs, newspaper articles, memories, etc. they have discovered so it is available for this and future generations.


Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe. Edited by Lesley Muir. Campsie, N.S.W. : Canterbury and District Historical Society, 2002