William (Bill) BARRIE

Badge Number: 510701, Sub Branch: Orroroo

BARRIE, William

Service Number: 1882
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 43rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Willowie, South Australia, 13 January 1882
Home Town: Willowie, Mount Remarkable, South Australia
Schooling: Willowie Primary, South Australia, Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Respiratory problems and age. , Magill, South Australia, 26 May 1961, aged 79 years
Cemetery: Magill General Cemetery, South Australia
Buried with wife Charlotte Jane and son James, Plot 241
Memorials: Booleroo Centre WW1 Roll of Honour, Booleroo Centre War Memorial, Orroroo Morchard Men Roll of Honor, Willowie Schools and District Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

13 Jul 1916: Involvement Private, 1882, 50th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '19' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Seang Bee embarkation_ship_number: A48 public_note: ''
13 Jul 1916: Embarked Private, 1882, 50th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Bee, Adelaide
25 Nov 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 43rd Infantry Battalion
29 May 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, 1882, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux, GSW to left shoulder
11 Nov 1918: Involvement Private, 1882, 43rd Infantry Battalion
15 Jun 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 43rd Infantry Battalion

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

Biography contributed by Di Barrie

William “Bill” Barrie was born at Willowie on 13 January 1882, the second son of Robert and Elizabeth (nee Stone) Barrie. Robert and Elizabeth farmed Sect 38, Hundred of Willowie, (now Sect 170 and still in the Barrie family). Bill worked the farm with his father prior to enlisting.

He enlisted on 28 March 1916 as a Private into the 50 Battalion 3 Reinforcement. He was 34years old, 5’8½” (174cm) tall, weighed 120lb (54.5Kg) with a medium complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He stated his religion was Methodist and his mother was his next of kin.

Bill embarked from Adelaide on the A48 “Seeang Bee” on the 13 July 1916 and disembarked in Plymouth on the 9th September 1916. During his training in England he was transferred to the 43 Battalion and on the 25 November 1916,  he proceeded to France. Within a month Bill developed mumps and spent some time in hospital, re-joining his Battalion on 19 January 1917.

Arriving on the Western Front in late December, the 43 Battalion spent 1917 bogged in bloody trench warfare in Flanders. In June the battalion took part in the battle of Messines and in October the Third Battle of Ypres. The battalion spent much of 1918 fighting in the Somme Valley. In April they helped stop the German Spring Offensive at Villers-Bretonneux but on 29 May 1918, Bill was wounded in action with a gunshot wound to his shoulder, and was transferred through the Casualty Clearing Station, Field Hospital then to hospital at Havre. He did not rejoin his unit again until 4 October 1918. Within five weeks, on the 11 November 1918 the guns eventually fell silent and over the next month, and into 1919, the men of the 43 Battalion returned to Australia in drafts for demobilisation and discharge.

Bill arrived back in Adelaide on the 8 May 1919 (five months after the death of his mother Elizabeth), and was discharged on the 15 June 1919, returning to the family farm. He married Charlotte Jane Atkinson at the Methodist Church at Moseley Square, Glenelg on 10 March 1920 and they had two children.

Bill suffered from the long-term effects of gas inhalation during the war making the physical aspect of farming difficult for him, but lived until he was 79 years. He retired to live firstly in Orroroo, then to Magill where he passed away on 26 May 1961 and is buried at the Magill Methodist General Cemetery.

Bill suffered the misfortune of a fire on his farm whilst he was overseas in France, and this newspaper cutting describes the event and the outcome, which showed the reverence that the community showed to the Willowie service men who fought overseas during the Great War.

The Times and Northern Advertiser, Peterborough, South Australia.

Friday 26 March 1920.

 Willowie: March 22 1920

While on active service abroad, Private William Barrie had the misfortune to suffer loss by reason of a fire, which mysteriously originated near a shed on his farm, spreading thence to the shed and destroying amongst other things, a seed drill and a quantity of harness. The drill was a good one, and the residents felt that it was up to them to see that Mr Barrie should not be put to the expense of a new drill, particularly in view of the fact that the loss had been incurred while he was away in France fighting for his country. A movement was therefore initiated with the object of collecting sufficient to purchase a machine that should be practically new and in perfect condition to be put straight into the field. Little difficulty was experienced in getting together the necessary money, and a drill was purchased from one of the returned men on the Mount Remarkable farm, who was prepared to sell what was nearly a new drill that seemed reasonable to the committee appointed to make the purchase. The drill has now been handed over to Mr Barrie, who, in a letter to the chairman of the Committee, expresses his appreciation of the goodwill of the givers, no less than his hearty thanks for the gift.

Source: "Diggers From the Dust" Diana Barrie and Andrew Barrie 2018.