William Henry WILLIAMS


WILLIAMS, William Henry

Service Number: 1970
Enlisted: 28 December 1914, Enlisted at Liverpool, NSW
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Corryong, Victoria, Australia, 1895
Home Town: Five Dock, Canada Bay, New South Wales
Schooling: Corryong Public School, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Butcher
Died: Killed in Action, Gallipoli, 1 December 1915
Cemetery: Shell Green Cemetery
Plot 11, Row B, Grave 2. Headstone inscription reads: Father in thy gracious keeping we leave our loved on sleeping,
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Corryong War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

28 Dec 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1970, 3rd Infantry Battalion, Enlisted at Liverpool, NSW
13 Apr 1915: Involvement Private, SN 1970, 3rd Infantry Battalion
13 Apr 1915: Embarked Private, SN 1970, 3rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Kyarra, Sydney
7 Aug 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 1970, 3rd Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli, Wound to the left thigh

His Story

Charlie Hayes' real name was William Henry Williams. While there is a great deal of correspondence in Charlie's records between his siblings and the Army, there is no evidence as to why he chose to enlist under an assumed name. Information written in red pencil on his enlistment papers indicates that both of Charlie's parents were deceased and that he had a brother and a sister, both of whom were living in Tumbarumba.

Charlie enlisted at Liverpool, NSW on 28 December 1914, giving his age as 20 years old. After training, he embarked with the rest of the 3rd Battalion on H.M.A.T. A55 Kyarra at Sydney on 13 April 1915.

After some training in Egypt, Charlie arrived at Anzac Cove in mid-June, as a reinforcement for the 3rd Battalion. In August he was wounded with a gunshot wound to his left thigh. He spent some time in Egypt at the No. 1 Australian General Hospital recovering from his wounds before rejoining his unit on 30 October.

The 3rd Battalion spent November and some of December at a location called Shell Green, which was on the southern flank of the Anzac lines. The Battalions war diary for the 1 December mentions improvements being made to the trenches and chambers, as well as wire entanglements being placed out in front. At some stage during this day, Charlie was killed, either by shelling or from a sniper’s bullet. He was buried in the small Shell Green cemetery

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Biography contributed by Carol Foster

Enlisted and served under alias Charles Hayes. Brother of Myrtle Evelyn Williams who signed a Statuatory Declaration stating his true name was William Henry Williams but had served as Charles Hayes. On page 39 of his Attestation paper his sister wrote that he had enlisted under a false name due to being under age

Son of William Williams and Mary Williams of Corryong, Victoria. Also brother of Doris Williams, Olive Eleanor Williams and Bryson Williams

Next of kin given as his aunt Mrs R. Atherton of Lancelot Street, Five Dock, NSW

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal issued to his sister Myrtle Williams as his brother could not be located


Biography contributed by Stephen Learmonth

William Henry Williams was supposedly born in Corryong, Victoria sometime before 1900. He was one of five children of William and Martha Williams. His eldest sister, Myrtle, indicated in a letter written to the Officer in Charge at Victoria Barracks in Melbourne in 1920, that William had enlisted under the name of Charles Hayes as he was under the age of 21 at the time he enlisted. Both of Williams parents had passed away either just before, or after, he enlisted, although no details where able to located.

William enlisted on the 28th of January 1915, at Liverpool, NSW, becoming a member of the 5th Reinforcements for the 3rd Battalion. At the time of his enlistment he gave the address of his next of kin, his Aunt Mrs R Atherton, as Lancelot Street, Five Dock, Sydney, NSW. His enlistment papers indicated that he had been an apprentice butcher for C Jones in Wodonga for two years, and that his previous military experience included a stint with the Light Horse and the 44th Infantry Battalion. It’s not known whether this information was true or used to help him build a story for his older aged character.

After training, he embarked with the rest of the 3rd Battalion reinforcements on HMT A55 Kyarra at Sydney on the 13th of April 1915. William finally arrived at Anzac Cove on the 14th of June. He was wounded during the August Offensive when the 3rd Battalion participated in the attack on Lone Pine. He received a gun shot wound to the left thigh, serious enough for him to be transported to hospital at Alexandria.

It would be over two months before William rejoined his unit at Gallipoli. The 3rd Battalion would hold the region at Shell Green through to their evacuation on the 19th of December.

The battalion’s war diary entry for the 1 of December states;

“Improvements to fire recesses were carried out and progress made with underground chambers. Wire entanglements were placed on our front during the night. To Hospital 3 From Hospital 0 Casualties 1 OR killed.”

The OR (Other Rank), killed was William. There is no record as to how he was killed in action, whether it was by sniper fire or shellfire. He was buried at the Shell Green cemetery by the Rev W McKenzie.