James William GILHAM

Badge Number: 55971 / 1893
55971 / 1893

GILHAM, James William

Service Number: 18921
Enlisted: 11 December 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance
Born: Essex, England, United Kingdom, January 1874
Home Town: Goodwood, Unley, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Bank Messenger
Died: Mitcham, South Australia, 16 December 1931, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Mitcham Anglican Cemetery, South Australia
Plot 0856 - Burial reg # 1072
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World War 1 Service

11 Dec 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia
31 Aug 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 18921, 14th Australian General Hospital, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '24' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Wiltshire embarkation_ship_number: A18 public_note: ''
11 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 18921, 1st Light Horse Field Ambulance
5 Apr 1919: Discharged AIF WW1

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Biography contributed by Bruce Gilham

James William (Will) Gilham was my grandfather who passed away before I was born. He was born in Essex, UK in 1874, the 13th of 14 children. He initially worked as a porter/first aid worker for the Great Eastern Railway and was fluent in three languages, English, German and French. (He later completed a “crash course” in Turkish prior to enlistment in the AIF). He enlisted in the Essex Regiment in the UK and served in the Boer War (around 1900). He married in 1898 and had 3 children, the first surviving less than a year.

He worked his passage to Australia on a steam ship in 1911, settled in Adelaide, then sent for his wife and 2 sons (one being my father).

He enlisted in the AIF in 1916 (1st Light Horse Field Ambulance), served in Palestine where his medical and language skills were put to good use and was discharged in 1919. (The photograph was taken in Cairo, Egypt).

His “best mate” died in action. (Unfortunately I never knew his name.)

He was a member of  the Unley RSL until his death (on his birthday) at the age of 57. He suffered from what we now know as PTSD and alcohol was a definite problem for him, which probably accounted for his early death.

He was dearly loved by his wife (Sarah) and only surviving son, Malcolm (Don) Gilham, my father.