Hector Edward Williams

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Hector Edward Williams. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.

WILLIAMS, Hector Edward

Service no: 3973 [1]

Place of birth: Gallymont, 14 February 1894

Address: 54 Lords Place, Orange

Occupation: Baker

Next of kin: William John Williams (father), 54 Lords Place, Orange

Date of enlistment: 18 September 1915

Place of enlistment: Orange

Age at enlistment: 21

Fate: Embarked HMAT A54 Runic, Sydney, 20 January 1916. Wounded in action France 26 July 1916. Appointed Lance Corporal March 1917. Killed in action, France, 3 May 1917.

Date of death: 3 May 1917

Born on 14 February 1894 at Gallymont, Hector was the fourth son of William John Williams and his wife Martha Elizabeth Rigelsford. Hector attended Orange East Public School and later became a baker and pastry cook with Bartle and Bartle bakers and Ogston’s bakers. He enlisted on 20 September 1915 and, as part of the 9th Reinforcements 18th Battalion, embarked HMAT A54 Runic in Sydney on 20 January 1916.

Whilst serving in France in July 1916 Private Williams sustained a gunshot wound to his right thigh. He convalesced in England, only to return to the Front in December 1916. In March 1917 Hector was appointed Lance Corporal.

Lance Corporal Williams was killed in action in France on 3 May 1917 one of 12 men from the Orange district who was killed on the opening day of the Second Battle of Bullecourt. He has no known grave.

Hector Edward Williams is commemorated on the Orange East Public School Honour Roll, on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph, on panel number 92 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux in France.

He is also remembered in Newman Park in Orange, where his name appears on a plaque commemorating former Orange East Public School students who were killed in action.

In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte HE Williams”; it was donated by the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows (MUIOOF). Very few of the trees are still standing today.

Hector’s brothers Charles Frederick Williams and Albert Ernest Williams also served in WWI. They both returned to Australia after the war.

No one knows how much we miss him
Friends may think the wound has healed;
But they little know the sorrow
That lies within our hearts concealed. [2]

  • Sharon Jameson, November 2018
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