Bert was the fourth child of John & Gussie Sampson
Born: 1893 Broken Hill, New South Wales
Died: 4 Oct 1917 at the Battle of Broodseinde Ridge, Belgium
Buried: On the battlefield North East of Zonnebeke Village, Belgium
Occupation: Auctioneer’s clerk then soldier
In many Australian homes today
there’s a vacant chair,
there’s a boy away;
There’s a silent tear,
there’s a hungry yearn
for the soldier boy
who will never return.
In dream he is ever near us,
his voice we long to hear;
But in Belgium,
beside his comrades,
lies the one we love so dear.
These lines inserted by Bert’s mother and siblings in memoriam notices.
Note: Original had France in place of Belgium. Bert however fell in Belgium.
Photo on left:
Bert Bramwell Sampson. Photo is assumed to have been taken in 1916 before he headed off to the battlefields on the Western Front of World War 1.
Bert recovered and returned to his battalion on 5 August, 1917. In the ensuing weeks his brigade was preparing to advance from the east of Ieper (In french pronounced Ypres) to push the German army back past Broodseinde Ridge. On 3 October Bert’s battalion moved by train to the Asylum in Ieper and according to orders was to detrain at 10.30am and then march through Ieper to a holding area east of the town. At 6am the battalion advanced. The area to be crossed was a quagmire and subject to frequent shellfire. At some stage in the battle Bert was killed and was buried on the battlefield. The location of burial was recorded as given below (source: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1501310)
The place of burial was lost and either Bert’s body was never recovered or he is in one of the plots marked to an unknown soldier. It was noted that of the 992 men of the battalion that were involved in the campaign that only 158 emerged unwounded when it was relieved for a rest on 21 October. As Bert’s body was not identified in recovery, his name was engraved on the side of the Menin Gate at Ieper.