William Leighton STRACHAN


STRACHAN, William Leighton

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 19 August 1914, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 6th Infantry Battalion
Born: North Adelaide, South Australia, 31 March 1888
Home Town: North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Melbourne C of E School and Adelaide University
Occupation: Soldier
Died: Killed in Action, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, aged 27 years
Cemetery: Lone Pine Cemetery, ANZAC
Grave 2, Row O, Plot 1
Memorials: Adelaide Rowing Club WW1 Pictorial Honour Board, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Melbourne Grammar School WW1 Fallen Honour Roll, North Adelaide Christ Church Roll of Honour, North Adelaide Christ Church Honour Board, North Adelaide Queens School Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Melbourne, Victoria
19 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, SN Officer, 6th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
19 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, 6th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Melbourne
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 6th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli

More about William

William Leighton Strachan of South Yarra, Melbourne, Victoria was born at North Adelaide in March 1888. He was educated at Queen’s School, the Collegiate School of St Peter, and Melbourne Grammar School, Victoria.
William commenced his military career as a cadet at the School and while there gained a fine reputation as a scholar, school captain and athlete. He won the 100 yards School Championship in 1905, and the same year rowed in the winning first crew against Geelong.
This race was rowed on the Port River under very unfavourable weather conditions, a strong wind blowing against the tide. The School, however, won by two lengths.
After leaving school William joined the staff of George Wills & Co., in Adelaide and after five years was associated with James Robin & Company for two years before joining his uncle’s firm, W. H. Tuckett and sons in Melbourne. Over the period he worked at his uncles firm, he passed all but his final examination in accountancy and served part time in the 10th Australian Infantry Regiment.
He was promoted through the ranks to captain and in July 1912 was posted to the 79th Infantry as the Adjutant.
In December that year he was transferred to the 63rd Infantry Battalion ,East Melbourne and when war was declared applied for a commission in the AIF.
His years of part time service were obviously taken into account for he joined the 6th Battalion as Adjutant on 19 August 1914. While at Broadmeadows Camp, he was married and sailed from Melbourne with his unit aboard HMAT Hororata on 19 October.
Twenty seven year old Captain Strachan was commanding D Company when killed in action on the day of landing.
Captain Strachan of the 6th had fallen on Bolton’s Hill, and Major Hamilton upon one of the spurs of the Pine.
In a letter to William’s relatives in Victoria, a friend later referred to him as a ‘fine lad, played his part like a man, and died like one.’ According to the author of the letter, William was well inland when killed at 5 p.m., on the afternoon of the first day.

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Captain (Capt) William Leighton Strachan, 6th Battalion was a married 26 year old from North Adelaide, South Australia, when he enlisted on 19 August 1914.  He was the son of Roland and Edith Maud STRACHAN and husband of Alice Campbell AYLIFFE (formerly STRACHAN), Palmer Place, North Adelaide, South Australia

William Strachan had attended Prince Alfred College in Adelaide and Church of England School in Melbourne.  He was a Member of the Adelaide Rowing Club his is one of 131 images of members who served in the Great War. 

William Strachan is not listed on Adelaide's National War Memorial.  He is however listed on Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance indicating that he enlisted there.  This is supported by the address on enlistment which is shown as 51 Arnold Street, South Yarra, Victoria.  He was a member of the militia  - images show him in a militia officer's uniform.  He attained the rank of Major but was appointed Captain Adjutant of the 6th Battalion on enlistment in the AIF.  He embarked for overseas from Melbourne on 19 October 1914 aboard HMAT Hororata.

After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving on 2 December. The 6th Battalion later took part in the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915, as part of the second wave. Capt Strachan was killed in action on the day of the landing and is buried in the Lone Pine Cemetery, Gallipoli.

He is commemorated on the Adelaide Rowing Club Honour Board and at the North Road Church of England Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia , a number of Honour Boards in North Adelaide on the Roll of Honour at the AWM and at Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance.

 Medals: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Commemorative Plaque


Biography contributed by Sharyn Roberts

WILLIAM LEIGHTON STRACHAN who was killed in action during the Landing of the Australians on Gallipoli on 25th April 1915 was the eldest son of Mr. Roland Strachan of Adelaide.

He was born in 1888 and entered the School in 1901, and on leaving
proceeded to Adelaide to work in his father's office. In the Commonwealth Military Forces he was a member of the 63rd Infantry Brigade, in which he was gazetted Captain on 5th December 1910. He served as Military Adjutant from 1st July to 20th September 1912. Having offered himself as a private, Captain Strachan was accepted and his interest in the work and his enthusiasm soon won him promotion.

His rise through the various grades to Captain in the 6th Battalion was rapid, and his talents gave every promise of a brilliant career for the young officer.