Caleb James Burton
4th Australian Pioneers
Division 71 and 72
Caleb Burton has no headstone but his name is commemorated upon the screen wall.
Caleb James Burton had born in Wigan, Lancashire. It has not been possible to find out about his life before he emigrated to Australia. However the archives of his military career are available. Caleb James Burton was aged 37 years 9 months when he enlisted in Brisbane on 2 February 1916. Both his parents were dead and his next of kin was given as a half-brother William Arnold Roberts of Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. On 1 May 1916 Caleb left Brisbane for Egypt aboard the S.S. “Clan Macgillivray”. He arrived in England on 21 August 1916 having travelled via Alexandria and Marseilles.
He travelled to Reading and was encamped at Coley Recreation Ground when he was taken ill little more than a month since his arrival. The following is a transcript from the Reading Standard 14 October 1916. Caleb James Burton died on 3 October 1916.
“Rarely has so imposing a military funeral taken place in Reading as that on Saturday, when the body of Corporal Burton of the Australian Imperial Force, was laid to rest in Reading Cemetery.
Previously in camp at the Australian Headquarters, Tadworth, Corporal Burton had been in the Pioneer School of Instruction, encamped in Coley Recreation Ground, only for about four weeks. Here he was taken ill and died from bronchial pneumonia in Number 5 War Hospital on Tuesday, Oct. 3rd. Three days after admission. Later the body was conveyed to No. 1 Hospital, where the first part of the service was held.
The funeral was attended by the whole school of instruction, consisting of members of various regiments, numbering 40 officers and 206 non-commissioned officers and men in the following formation:- A firing party of Australians, a band of the Royal Berks. Depot, who played the funeral march en route, the Australian officers, the bearers composed of Australian units, the Scottish Highlanders, various units of Irish, Scotch and Welsh regiments. The body was drawn on a gun carriage covered with the Union Jack, Lieut. Spencer of the 11th Dragoons, was in charge of the procession.
The committal service at the graveside (at which the Commandant of the Pioneers was present) was conducted by the Rev. R.W. Morley, curate of St. John’s and three volleys being fired over the grave, a bugler from The Royal Berks. Depot sounded “Last Post”. Through the permission of the Commandant all field work was suspended for the day as a mark of respect to the dead soldiers memory.”