William Mansfield OGILVIE

OGILVIE, William Mansfield

Service Number: 2185
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 13th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Walhalla, Vic., 1897
Home Town: Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: 1954, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Fentons Creek Wehla State School No 320 Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

17 Jan 1917: Involvement Private, 2185, 13th Light Horse Regiment, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '3' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: RMS Omrah embarkation_ship_number: '' public_note: ''
17 Jan 1917: Embarked Private, 2185, 13th Light Horse Regiment, RMS Omrah, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Sharyn Roberts

William was Joseph and Catherine Ogilvie's youngest son, born in August 1898 and only four years old when his father died. When he signed his attestation in January 1917, some eighteen months after his brother Stanley, his family had moved from Drummond Street to 90 Fenwick Street, North Carlton. He gave his age as 19 years and 3 months, overstating it by some ten months. Attached to the 13th Light Horse, he embarked on the Omrah on 17 January 1917 and, like another young enthusiast William Thomas Hopley whose story also appears on this page, he was in conflict with army discipline from very start. Within a couple of weeks he was recorded as having committed a "crime at sea" by disobeying standing orders, for which offence he was fined 5/-. A month after that he was admitted to the ship's hospital suffering from venereal disease and on disembarkation was transferred to hospital. When he was finally discharged on 29 April he had been absent from duty for 61 days. In August 1917 William was transferred from the 13th light Horse to the 7th Battalion. In early October he was AWL for 5 days, which resulted in 168 hours' detention and the forfeiture of 17 days' pay.William was stationed in France from 18 October 1917. Within a month he was gassed, classed as wounded in action, and two weeks later returned to England for treatment. A letter to his mother notified her that he was in Norfolk War Hospital suffering from the effects of gas poisoning. From late January to 14 February 1918 he was awarded a period of "furlo" from which, perhaps characteristically, he returned several hours late and was "admonished". During this period of leave William married Ethel Violet Keens, a twenty year old munitions worker. He gave his age as 22, but was in fact only 19. She, of course, became his next of kin but nothing else seems to have changed. In April 1918 he had another bout of venereal disease and in August of the same year was AWL for 3 days. In October 1918 he returned to the front line in France. By September 1919 he was on indefinite leave in England awaiting a family ship for return to Australia. He and presumably his wife Ethel as well left Southampton on the Benalla and disembarked at the end of November. It must have been a very special Christmas for Catherine Ogilvie. In December 1918 she had three children serving overseas, but now she could celebrate the safe return of all three.

In January 1935 the Officer in Charge of Records in Melbourne received this rather plaintive letter from Ethel Ogilvie, giving her address as Revesby P.O., NSW.

Dear SirAs my health is very unsatisfactory to the Doctors hear they are trying to get me into Fourlow House for a rest and as it is a returned Soldiers house for Mothers and wifes whom are needing a rest they desire my husbands discharge as my husband Deserted myself and children some time ago. I have not got same so could you send me a copy of his records ... So if you could just supply me with a copy of his discharge I would be truly thankful please Oblige.

Mrs E.V.Ogilvie
The reply stated that duplicates could only be made available to the ex-soldiers concerned but supplied the relevant information. Ethel, who died in 1958, appears to have remained in NSW and last appears on the electoral roll in 1954 at an address in Revesby, where two other voters with her surname were also living.In the early 1930s William seems to have been moving around NSW, but by the end of that decade he had returned to Melbourne. In January 1938, then living at 23 Henry Street, North Carlton, he made a Statutory Declaration to the effect that he had lost his discharge papers and medals. "My home was burnt whilst in the paddock working." By 1943 he had moved to Blackburn, where his mother Catherine had died in 1940 at the age of 73 and where William himself died in 1954 at 56.