Alexander Ernest Fahmel
2187 Pte. Alexander Fahmel was born in 1895 at Burrumbuttock near Albury, N.S.W. to German born August Frederich Fahmel and Agnes Anna Paula Piarott. He worked as a farm laborer for Mr. Tom Richardson of Ventnor. He came to Phillip Island as a boy, with his mother and two sisters – Irma and Sophia. Alex’s mother Agnes worked as a housekeeper for David Burton of Back Beach Road, Ventnor.
The outbreak of war in 1914 must have been particularly traumatic for the Fahmel family, for his mother and sister Irma were strongly pro-German in sympathy, whilst Alex and Sophia supported the Allies. Alex initially applied to enlist at San Remo on 29th March 1916 and had his medical examination at Cowes the same day. He enlisted at Melbourne on 26th April and left on Orontes on 16th August 1916. He joined the unit in France on 27th January 1917.
“After Pozières, (August 1916) the battalion spent the period up until March 1917 alternating between duty in the trenches and training and rest behind the lines. On 11th April it took part in the attack mounted against the heavily defended village of Bullecourt - part of the formidable Hindenburg Line to which the Germans had retreated during February and March. Devoid of surprise, and dependent upon the support of unreliable tanks, the attack had little chance of success; after managing to fight through to it’s objectives, the 46th was forced to withdraw with heavy casualties.”
Australian War Memorial website.
Fahmel was in the same infantry battalion as Herbert Holdsworth, and both were killed on the 11th April 1917 in the First Battle of Bullecourt. Fahmel was killed by an enemy shell and was initially reported as missing.His remains were found in 1922 and were buried at the Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-les-Mofflaines, France.
Alexander Ernest Fahmel is commemorated on the Cowes Obelisk, Phillip Island RSL Book of Honour, Phillip Island RSL Roll of Honour and the Cowes Primary School Roll of Honor.
Source: Forgotten Names, Phillip Island War Memorials by Andrew Box.