William Hanna (Bill) REA

REA, William Hanna

Service Number: 341
Enlisted: 26 August 1914
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 5th Divisional Signal Company
Born: Queenscliff, Victoria, 1892
Home Town: Violet Town, Strathbogie, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Telegraph Operator
Died: 1968, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Springvale Garden of Remembrance & Crematorium, Victoria
Memorials: Hawthorn Postmaster General's Department Victoria 1
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World War 1 Service

26 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 341, 7th Infantry Battalion
19 Oct 1914: Involvement Private, SN 341, 7th Infantry Battalion
19 Oct 1914: Embarked Private, SN 341, 7th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Melbourne
24 Dec 1914: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 7th Infantry Battalion
25 Apr 1915: Wounded 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
8 Aug 1915: Wounded The August Offensive - Lone Pine, Suvla Bay, Sari Bair, The Nek and Hill 60 - Gallipoli
4 Feb 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 58th Infantry Battalion
16 Mar 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 5th Divisional Signal Company

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Biography

REA William Hanna 341 PTE
5th Divisional Sig Coy
1892-1968

William Hanna’s father, another William, was a Quarter Master Sergeant stationed at Queenscliff. He and his wife Annie (Montgomery) had a daughter Annie Dorothea born in 1890, then two sons, William Hanna born in 1892 and his brother Edward Alan born in 1894. Both the boys served in WW1. 

On 26 August 1914, soon after war was declared, Bill left his job as a telegraph operator at the Violet Town Post Office to enlist. He was 22 years old. On 19 October he embarked on Hororata for Alexandria as part of the 5th Divisional Sig Coy.

After training in Egypt he sailed on Galeka to take part in the Gallipoli landing on 25 April. A week later he was invalided to Alexandria with flesh wounds. After a quick recovery he was back at the front, this time at Lone Pine. In September he sustained more serious wounds for which he was hospitalised at Malta, then England. An article in the Violet Town Sentinel reports that ‘William, the eldest son of Warrant-Officer Rea, who was reported wounded at the Dardenelles, has almost recovered . . . the extracted bullet is being kept as a keepsake.’

Early in 1916 he spent some time in hospital. He was sent back to England and then to France where in February 1917, he was taken on strength of the 58th Battalion in time for the German spring offensive. In March he developed an infection in his left heel for which he was hospitalised back in England. There was recurrence of a former complaint which saw him hospitalised until August when he was well enough to re-join his unit. The following year, after leave in England he returned to Australia on board Port Lyttleton for special leave which was due to long serving soldiers. He was discharged on 23 February 1919.

Bill’s pre-war popularity as an official at the Violet Town Post Office was reflected in the warm welcome which he received when he returned home. In 1921 he married Annie Florence Burne and raised a family of two sons, Alan and Herbert and four daughters, Margaret, Dorothy, Maude and Pauline. He returned to his previous employment with the Post Office and served as Post Master in Rosedale and Morwell. Bill died in 1968 at the age of 76.  He is buried at the Springvale Crematorium.

Service Medals:   1914-15 Star     British War Medal    Victory Medal

Memorials:  Main Honour Board, Memorial Hall, Violet Town
                       Australian Natives Association

Tree No 39 was planted in 1917 by J Smith

In 2013 a Crepe Myrtle was planted in Bill’s memory.

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