Name: Ernest John Rau
Service Number: 2012
Units Served: 27th Battalion and the 2nd Pioneer Battalion
Personal Details: Ernest was born in Gawler on the 26th January, 1897 to parents Edith and John Rau. He was a fitter by trade when he enlisted, working for James Martin and Company to whom he had been apprenticed for 4 ½ years. He was also serving in the Senior Cadets. He was 5’ 7 ½” tall with a medium complexion, grey eyes and dark hair. He weighed 152 lbs.
Enlistment Details: Ernest enlisted on the 7th June, 1915 at the age of 18 years and 6 months with his father signing permission for him to enlist. He was assigned to the 3rd Reinforcement of the 27th Battalion.
Details about his role in War: Ernest left Adelaide aboard the “Morea” on the 23rd August 1915 as an Acting Sergeant, and was taken on strength by the 27th Battalion on Gallipoli on the 12th October. He reverted to a private at this time. He remained on the peninsula until the evacuation. He was promoted to Corporal on the 29th December at Mudros, after which he was sent to Egypt. On the 8th March, 1916 he was transferred to the 2nd Pioneer Battalion. He left Alexandria bound for Marseilles where he arrived on the 26th. After training and some relatively quiet time in the front line, the Battalion faced its first serious battles at Pozieres, On the 5th August, Ernest John Rau was listed as missing in action. He was later declared killed in action by a court of enquiry on 31st March, 1917. There are varying descriptions of how he died in the Red Cross file for Missing and Wounded, but he was either killed by machine gun fire or more likely hit by a shell while digging a sap at Pozieres.
Date of Death: 5th August 1916
Age at Death: 19
Memorial Details: Villers-Brettoneux