Pirie's Burt brothers fought in Great War

BRAVERY: Lance Corporal William Arthur Burt died almost 99 years ago.

BRAVERY: Lance Corporal William Arthur Burt died almost 99 years ago.

When William and Cecil Burt, of Port Pirie, cleaned their rifles for combat in separate battalions, it was with the knowledge that they were brothers-in-arms.

They did not know that one of them would be killed in action and the other would be awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

William Arthur Burt, 28, and Cecil Elijah Roy Burt, 21, joined the Australian Imperial Force on the same day – April 7, 1916.

Giving up their sons to World War I were Elijah and Martha Burt, of Three Chain Road, Solomontown.

William was assigned to the 50th Battalion and Cecil to the 51st Battalion.

William, Service No. 2637, left Australia on the “Port Melbourne” in December, 1916. He served in France and was promoted in the field to Lance Corporal.

He was killed in action on April 25, 1918, the date of Anzac Day, while taking part in an attack to dislodge German troops from Villers-Bretonneux.

Cecil, Service No. 22, embarked from Australia on May 16, 1916, to serve in Belgium and France. He was promoted in the field to Lance Corporal and later Sergeant.

On June 5, 1918, Cecil was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.

When his platoon had come under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire from an enemy stronghold, Corporal Burt and a comrade advanced with a Lewis gun in front of their platoon.

With bullets whizzing past them, they directed such accurate demoralising fire on the enemy that 40 of them, with four machine-guns, surrendered to the pair whose courage and unhesitating action led to such a valuable success.

William Burt was killed in action on April 25, 1918, the date of Anzac Day, while taking part in an attack to dislodge German troops from Villers-Bretonneux. - From military records

Cecil returned to Australia in June, 1919.

At the Anzac Day Dawn Service on Tuesday, several hundred people are expected to pay tribute to those who took part in wars and peacekeeping efforts. It will be at 6am at the World War I Memorial Gates. This will be followed by the March and Civic Observance at 10.30am.

In the evening, Anzac Day projections will take place at Memorial Park on the Northern Festival Centre wall at 6.30pm.

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