William Edward (Bill) LEAR

LEAR, William Edward

Service Number: 928
Enlisted: 30 November 1914, Oaklands, South Australia
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: 9th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Balaklava, South Australia, 1889
Home Town: Yallunda Flat, Tumby Bay, South Australia
Schooling: Balaklava
Occupation: Farm labourer
Died: Killed in Action, Gallipoli, Gallipoli, Dardanelles, Turkey, 29 August 1915
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula, Canakkale Province, Turkey
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Cummins Memorial Pavers, Cummins War Memorial, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing, Port Lincoln & District Honor Roll WW1, Port Lincoln Garden of Remembrance, Tumby Bay RSL Portrait Memorials, Tumby Bay War Memorial, Yallunda Flat Memorial Park
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World War 1 Service

30 Nov 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 928, Oaklands, South Australia
1 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 928, 9th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '2' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Port Lincoln embarkation_ship_number: A17 public_note: ''
1 Apr 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 928, 9th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Port Lincoln, Adelaide
29 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, 928, 9th Light Horse Regiment, ANZAC / Gallipoli, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 928 awm_unit: 9th Australian Light Horse Regiment awm_rank: Trooper awm_died_date: 1915-08-29

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Biography contributed by Geoffrey Stewart

Bill was born on 10 November 1889 at Balaklava (SA) to Thomas Forster Lear and Matilda Jane Lear (nee Schnaars).  He was the third youngest of 8 children in the family, 5 boys and 3 girls; 4 of the children being from a previous marriage. His family travelled from Balaklava to Wallaroo before boarding the "Ferret", arriving in Tumby Bay in 1904 and then moving to Yallunda Flat where his father farmed on Section 186 Hundred of Koppio. 

Bill went to school at Balaklava.  On completion of schooling he  worked on the family farm at Balaklava until their relocation to Yallunda Flat, where he again worked on the family farm, as well as other local farms in the area, until his enlistment in the Army at Oaklands at the age of 25.  At the time of enlistment he recorded his occupation as farm labourer and the address of his next of kin (father) as Yallunda Flat, via Tumby Bay.

On enlistment Bill was sent to Base Light Horse at Mitcham for training before being allocated to 4th Reinforcements/9th Light Horse Regiment.

On completion of training he embarked at Adelaide aboard HMAT "Port Lincoln" on 1 April 1915 bound for Alexandria, arriving on 27 May 1915.  Originally the Light Horse were considered not suitable for deployment to Gallipoli; however this was overcome by the units leaving their horses in Egypt and being shipped to Gallipoli to  fight as dismounted infantry.

 After a further 2 months of training he was admitted to hospital, then transferred to the Hospital Ship (HS) "Song Bee" and taken to the Florina Hospital in Malta suffering from influenza; he remained in hospital for just over a month before he was released from hospital and returned to his unit (9th Light Horse), arriving in Gallipoli on 12 August 1915.

After only 2 weeks back in action at Gallipoli he was reported missing in action (MIA) on 29 August 1915.  This was during the attack on Hill 60 where his unit suffered 50 percent casualties.  This report was later amended to killed in action (KIA)  by the findings of a court of enquiry on 26 April 1916. 

The Court also found that a further 18 men of Bill's unit who had been reported as missing in action at the same time, were in fact killed in action on that day.  The findings of the court read "the court was of the opinion that it is reasonable to suppose that the officers and soldiers are (now) dead."

Bill has no known final resting place and his name is inscribed on the Lone Pine Memorial, along with five thousand other Australian and New Zealand soldiers. His name is also recorded on the Tumby Bay Memorial.

Two of Bill's brothers also served in the Army during WW1.  Percival Albert Lear served at Gallipoli and Egypt with the 3rd Light Horse Regiment until he was wounded in action at Romani; and Richard Forster Lear served on the Western Front with 10th Battalion, until he was wounded in action with a gunshot wound to his right foot at the battle of Amiens.  Both were medically discharged as a result of their wounds.


Medals and Decorations

1914 - 15 Star                                                                                                 

British War Medal                                                                                        

Victory Medal