William Wallace Lawson

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LAWSON, William Wallace

Service no: 4370 [1]

Place of birth: Kerr’s Creek, via Orange, 1890

Address: Coonabarabran

Occupation: Labourer

Next of kin: Eliza Lawson (mother), Kerr’s Creek, via Orange

Date of enlistment: 11 August 1915

Place of enlistment: Narrabri

Age at enlistment: 25

Fate: Embarked HMAT A60 Aeneas, Sydney, 20 December 1915. Joined 54th Battalion, Tel el Kebir, 16 February 1916. Transferred to No 2 Australian Stationary Hospital, Tel el Kebir, 29 February 1916. Admitted to Field Ambulance, Tel el Kebir, 1 March 1916. Transferred to No 4 Hospital Train, 1 March 1916. Admitted to No 1 Australian Dermatological Hospital, Cairo, 1 March 1916. Discharged to Overseas Base, Giza, 2 April 1916. Marched out to 13th Training Battalion, Tel el Kebir, 2 April 1916. Rejoined unit, Ferry Post, 5 May 1916. Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 June 1916. Disembarked Marseilles, France, 29 June 1916. Wounded in action sustaining a shrapnel wound to the head, 20 July 1916. Died of wounds whilst a prisoner of war in German hands, War Hospital C, Lille, 21 July 1916.

Date of death: 21 July 1916

Buried: Lille Southern Cemetery, France, Plot III, Row A, Grave 33

William Wallace Lawson was born in Kerr’s Creek in 1890. He was one of six children born to William Henry Lawson and his wife and Eliza (nee MacGilligate). William and his siblings were educated at Kerr’s Creek Public School.

William was working as a labourer in Coonabarabran when he enlisted in August 1915. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 13th Reinforcement as a Private and embarked from Sydney on 20 December 1915.

Private Lawson served initially in Egypt. In February 1916 he was transferred to the 54th Battalion, and in June 1916 joined the British Expeditionary Force and proceeded to France for service on the Western Front.

On 20 July 1916 the 54th Battalion was engaged in attacks on German trenches at Bac Saint-Maur near Lille. Fighting was intense - 73 men of the 54th were killed, 288 wounded and 173 were declared missing. William became one of the wounded when he sustained a shrapnel wound to the head. He was subsequently captured by German soldiers and taken to the nearby War Hospital C at Lille. Private Lawson died of his wounds the following day and was buried at Lille Southern Cemetery.

William Lawson is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll and Kerr’s Creek Honour Roll.

Two of William’s brothers - John Cravey Lawson and Stanley Fitzharding Leslie Lawson – also served in WWI. Both returned to Australia after their war service.

Nameless his grave on a battlefield gory,
Marked by a cross o'er a mound of brown earth;
Died in the pride of his youth and his glory,
Far from his home and the land of his birth.

Leader, 25 October 1916, p. 6.

Private WW Lawson [2]

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