William Aubrey COWARD


COWARD, William Aubrey

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 1 May 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 24th Infantry Battalion
Born: Truro, South Australia, 29 May 1894
Home Town: Clare, Clare and Gilbert Valleys, South Australia
Schooling: Duntroon Royal Military College
Occupation: Soldier
Died: Killed in Action , Pozières, France, 23 August 1916, aged 22 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Clare Original Clare School WW1 Memorial, Clare Schools Old Scholars who Fell WW1 Memorial, Clare WW1 Memorial Arch, Truro War Memorial, Truro and District Roll of Honour, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

1 May 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, Adelaide, South Australia
18 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
18 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 32nd Infantry Battalion
20 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 24th Infantry Battalion
27 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 24th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Help us honour William Aubrey Coward's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Born 29 May 1894, Truro, South Australia
(SA Birth record 1842 - 1906 Book: 544 Page: 204 District: Ang.)

Father Thomas William Coward
(b. 23/12/1870 Wheal Barton, Murray River SA - d. 18/4/1952 Mt Gambier SA)
Father : Wesley COWARD. Mother: Susanna Alice PHILPS.

married Annie Elizabeth Branson  7/3/1892 at Mrs Bowman in Adelaide, SA

Mother Annie Elizabeth Coward (nee Branson)
(b. 19/5/1869 Flaxman Valley SA - d. 23/1/1955 Mt Gambier SA)
Father : Charles BRANSON. Mother: Emma JACOBS

living in Clare, South Australia.

Sister      Ada Beatrice Coward  (b. 29/4/1892 Adelaide SA - d. ____)
himself    William Aubrey Coward
Sister      Dris Blanche Coward  (b. 8/12/1897 Truro SA - d. ____)
Brother   Rhys Elliott Coward    (b. 5/3/1901 Truro SA - d. ____)
Sister      Mabel Irene Coward   (b. 23/3/1903 Luton, near Clare SA - d. ____)

9/3/1913      William entered the Royal Military College at Duntroon (ACT) at the age of 19.
                   He studied for two years before graduating on the 28/6/1915. By this time, WWI
                   was already 10 months old and he travelled back to South Australian.

Described on enlisting as 21 years old; single;

13/7/1915    enlisted in Adelaide, SA
                   allocated to A Company of the 32nd Battalion, with the rank of Lieutenant
                   and a short period training with them in Adelaide

18/11/1915  embarked from Outer Harbour, Port Adelaide on board HMAT Geelong A2
                   as a Lieutenant in A Company, 32nd Infantry Battalion - Machine Gun Section
20/2/1915    disembarked into Suez, Egypt


20/2/1916    transferred to the 24th Battalion, Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt - training in the desert

20/2/1916    taken on strength into 24th Infantry Battalion, Canal Zone

20/3/1916    proceeded to join British Expeditionary Forces, proceeded to France
26/3/1916     disembarked into Marseilles, France

After a short period spent getting use to the fighting conditions on the Western Front near
Armentières, in the so called 'Nursery' Sector, the 24th Battalion was sent south to the Somme.

27/7/1916    The 24th Battalion was thrown into battle at Pozières.
                   They suffered heavily in K Trench and after a time were pulled out and taken to
                   the rear areas to recover from their losses.  

The 24th Battalion had only had a few weeks rest, however, been thrown back into the
battle at Mouquet Farm.

On the 22/8/1916, when the battalion was replacing the 12th Battalion in the front line near the Pozieres Ridge, east of Mouquet Farm, the battalion was spotted by either German spotter planes or German front line troops and soon Artillery rained down heavily on the ridge until midnight on the 22/8/1916.

The artillery barrage was very intense and while advancing forward to replace the 12th Battalion, Coward was killed by this artillery fire. The battalion diary briefy notes his death.


Death Registration - died: 23/8/1916 in France at age 22 years 3 months.
(SA Death record 1916 - 1972, Book : 406, Page 36, District Code : Cla.)

His name is commemorate at the Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial,
Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France.

His name is located at panel 101 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian
War Memorial, Canberra ACT.

WW1 Star 1914-15 (24658);  British War medal (24790); Victory medal (24623); 
Memorial Plaque and Memorial Scroll (355900)

Portrait courtesy of Clare Regional History Group.

Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan and Nathan Rohrlach.  18 June 2014.  Lest we forget.