Walter Henry (Wally) SHIERS AFM and Bar

SHIERS, Walter Henry

Service Number: 27
Enlisted: 9 April 1915, Adelaide, City of Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Born: Norwood, South Australia, 17 May 1889
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Richmond Public School, Richmond, Adelaide
Occupation: Electrician, aviation mechanic, aviation pioneer
Died: Natural Causes, Adelaide, South Australia, 2 June 1968, aged 79 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials: West Beach The Vickers Vimy Collection
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World War 1 Service

9 Apr 1915: Enlisted Adelaide, City of Adelaide, South Australia
22 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, SN 27, 4th Light Horse Brigade, Ammunition Reserve
22 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, SN 27, 4th Light Horse Brigade, Ammunition Reserve, HMAT Vestalia, Sydney
10 Dec 1919: Involvement Sergeant, SN 27, No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Date unknown: Involvement Trooper, SN 27, Unspecified British Units
Date unknown: Involvement Trooper, SN 27, No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps

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

Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Wally Shiers was an Adelaide boy: born at Norwood to William, a plasterer, and Annie Shiers, and brought up in a family of 12. He left Richmond Public School in Keswick aged 13 and worked for a market gardener where he learnt basic machinery and motor maintenance for a couple of years before going to Broken Hill after the death of his mother in 1904. He worked at the Broken Hill North mine for the next eight years but by 1913 he had established an electrical contracting business in Leeton NSW in the heart of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

He enlisted in the 4th Light Horse Brigade AIF on 9 April 1915 as a troopers and was assigned to the Ammunition Reserve with whom he trained and susbequently embarked for Egypt on 22 June 1915.

In July the following year he was transferred to No. 67 Sqn of the Royal Flying Corps in the Middle East.  67 Squadron became the nucleus of No. 1 Sqn of the Australian Flying Corps.  Wally Shiers was promoted to 1st class air mechanic in November 1917. It was here that his association with Ross Macpherson Smith began.

Wally Shiers the Smith brothers as pilots and fellow mechanic Jim Bennett were to write history after the war by becoming the first men to fly from London to Australia, in the military surplus Vickers Vimy bomber that now resides at Adelaide Airport.

Ross Smith and Bennett (and very nearly Keith Smith too) were killed in an aircraft accident in England in 1922.  Keith Smith was late for the fatal test flight and Shiels had been unable to join them in the UK.


More to follow......


Biography contributed

Biography written by Jessica Grasser, Golden Grove High School, SA attached as a document. Winning entry for 2021 Premier's Anzac Spirit School Prize.