b. 20/01/1893 Kyneton, Aust. d. 09/08/1915 Gallipoli, Turkey.
Alexander Stewart Burton (1893-1915) was born on 20th January 1893, in Kyneton, Victoria, Australia, the son of Alfred Edward Burton and his wife Isabella (nee Briggs). His father was a grocer and and elder of the local Presbyterian Church.
At an early age, Alex Burton and his family moved to Euroa, where he attended the state school, acquiring a reputation as a keen sportsman and useful member of the church choir and town band. After leaving school, he joined the firm of A Miller & Co, where his father was a partner, taking a job in the ironmongery department. In 1911, aged 18, he began his period of compulsory military service. Among his circle of friends was a farmer from the nearby town of Longwood by the name of Fred Tubb. When war broke out Tubb led 27 men from the district to Seymour to enlist. Among them was Alex Burton. They travelled to Broadmeadows, on the outskirts of Melbourne, and two months later, he embarked with his unit, the 7th Battalion for Egypt, where he underwent more training in preparation for the Dardanelles landings.
A throat infection caused him to miss the landings on the 25th April 1915. He eventually joined his unit on the peninsula in May and, according to accounts, he remained in the trenches for all but two weeks of the last three months of his life. Slightly wounded on 22nd June, was promoted to Lance Corporal on 10th July for his role as a volunteer in helping clear and occupy a troublesome post, known as “saphead D21” from where the Turks were digging a tunnel beneath the Australian lines. Shortly afterwards, he was made full Corporal.
On 9th August 1915, at Lone Pine, Gallipoli, Turkey, the enemy made a determined counter-attack on the centre of the newly captured trench held by Lieutenant Tubb, Corporals Burton and Dunstan and a few men. The enemy advanced up a sap and blew in a sandbag barricade, leaving only one foot of it standing, but Lieutenant Tubb with the two corporals repulsed the enemy and rebuilt the barricade. Supported by strong bombing parties the enemy twice again succeeded in blowing the barricade, but on each occasion they were repulsed and the barricade rebuilt, although Lieutenant Tubb was wounded in the head and arm and Corporal Burton was killed by a bomb while most gallantly building up the parapet under a hail of bombs.
News of his death reached his parents in the first week of September and the local paper sounded a jingoistic note when it said “Mingled with the sorrow of his relatives, there should be pride that, at any rate, he showed no “white feather”, but answered his country’s call nobly and at once.”
His VC, announced six weeks later, was sent to his father with a letter from King George V. Burton’s father wore the medal proudly at the homecoming parade for Fred Tubb VC in April 1916. He told the audience he was wearing it “for his boy’s sake”, and pledged always to wear it on special occasions. Burton had no known grave and is commemorated on the Lone Pine Cemetery Memorial, Gallipoli. He is also commemorated in Euroa where in 1934 three oak trees were dedicated in honour of Burton, Tubb and the Boer War VC, Maygar. In 1967, Burton’s family donated his Victoria Cross to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The location of his campaign medals is unknown.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL, CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA.
BURIAL PLACE: LONE PINE CEMETERY, GALLIPOLI, TURKEY. (NO KNOWN GRAVE)
Picture found online of a relative standing in front of his VC medal displayed at the Australian War Memorial. She is donating his Victory Medal to accompany the VC.
Alexander Burton's memorial stone laid at the National Memorial Arboretum in March 2015.
Memorials to Valour