William Joseph PUNCH


PUNCH, William Joseph

Service Number: 5435
Enlisted: 31 December 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 1st Infantry Battalion
Born: Queensland,Australia, 1880
Home Town: Pejar, Upper Lachlan Shire, New South Wales
Schooling: State School
Occupation: Station Hand
Died: Pneumonia Endocarditis, Mont Dore Military Hospital, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, 29 August 1917
Cemetery: Bournemouth East Cemetery, Hampshire, England
Plot X, Row 3, Grave 185, Bournemouth East Cemetery, Bournemouth, Dorset, England, United Kingdom
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Roslyn Woodhouselee Public School Great War Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

31 Dec 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 5435, 1st Infantry Battalion
14 Apr 1916: Involvement Private, SN 5435, 1st Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
14 Apr 1916: Embarked Private, SN 5435, 1st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Sydney
7 Sep 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 5435, 1st Infantry Battalion, GSW to scalp
5 Apr 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 5435, 1st Infantry Battalion, GSW to right buttock -later died during recovery of Pneumonia and Endocarditis

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

Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

On Saturday Mr. O. Gallagher, Bourke-street, received a wire from Base Records informing him that it was now reported that Pte. Wm. Punch was dangerously ill (20th June) from endocarditis. (Pte. Punch, who is an aboriginal, was one of the most popular men in the Goulburn camp. It is to be hoped that better news of) his state, of health will shortly come to hand.)

Goulbourn Evening Penny Post Tuesday 10 July 1917 page 2

Mr. C. S. Body, of "Alma," Langlee-avenue, Waverley, writes -to the Evening News:--Enclosed please find extract from a letter received today by me from my sister in Bournemouth, Hamplisire, England. I thought it might interest your many readers to know how even the humblest of our soldiers are looked after in the home land. I should he very glad to get into touch with anyone who knew the late Private Punch.
Extract: "You may be interested to hear that an Australian was buried on the same day as father, and near him. We have been going out every Sunday to put flowers on father's grave, and at the same time we have put flowers on his. We wrote to the Mt. Dore Hospital asking his name and address, as we thought we could write to his relations. The nurse wrote back such a nice letter to say his namo was Private Punch. He was an Australian aboriginal, man had joined up directly war broke out. He had been in France for a long time, was comparatively an old man, and had succumbed to pneumonia. She said he was such a mice man, and was liked by everyone in the ward of the hospital. She had nothing but good to say of him. He did not seem to have a relation in the world. We shall continue to remember his grave when we do father's."
(Though there appears to be an inaccuracy in the extract, it in all probability refers to the late Pte. Punch, of Pejar, who was trained in Goulburn Camp. No doubt some of Pte. Punch's friends will communicate with Mr. Body.-Ed. E.P.P.)

Goulbourn Evening Penny Post Tuesday 27 November 1917 page 2


Biography contributed by Evan Evans

The summary below was completed by Cathy Sedgwick – Facebook “WW1 Australian War Graves in England/UK

Died on this date - 29th August.....Private William Joseph Punch was born around 1880. He was of aboriginal descent & story circulated that he was found as a baby after members of his tribe had been massacred in retaliation for killing cattle. He referred to himself as just "Punch" & so did other people in his town.

Punch enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Goulburn, NSW on 31st December, 1915 as a 31 year old Labourer from Pejar, NSW.

Private Punch embarked from Sydney, NSW on HMAT Ceramic (A40) on 14th April, 1916 with the 1st Infantry Battalion, 17th Reinforcements & disembarked at Suez on 16th May, 1916.

He was transferred to England & posted to 15th Training Battalion at Perham Downs, Wiltshire on 9th August, 1916 from Egypt.

Private Punch arrived in France on 21st August, 1916 & joined 1st Battalion at the Front in Belgium on 5th September, 1916.

Private Punch was wounded in action in Belgium on 7th September, 1916 & sent to Hospital at Boulogne with GSW to scalp. He rejoined his Battalion on 30th September, 1916.

Private Punch was sent sick to Hospital on 26th November, 1916 with Neuritis Feet. He recovered in Hospital in France & was posted to Base Depot on 4th March, 1917. Private Punch rejoined 1st Battalion in France on 1st April, 1917.

Private Punch was wounded in action (2nd occasion) in France on 5th April, 1917 with GSW to right Buttock. He was invalided to England on Hospital Ship "St David" & admitted to Sherbourne Red Cross Hospital, England on 14th May, 1917. On 18th June, 1917 he developed Endocarditis. He was transferred to Mont Dore Military Hospital, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England on 24th July, 1917.

Private William Joseph Punch died at 7.15 pm on 29th August, 1917 at Mont Dore Military Hospital, Bournemouth, Hampshire, England from Pneumonia and Endocarditis. He was buried in Bournemouth East Cemetery, Bournemouth, Dorset, England where 10 other WW1 Australians are buried.

(The above is a summary of my research. The full research can be found by following the link below)