Ward William STORY

STORY, Ward William

Service Number: 8347
Enlisted: 21 June 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 6th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Norwood, South Australia, 9 June 1894
Home Town: Norwood (SA), South Australia
Schooling: Norwood State School
Occupation: Engineer
Died: Killed in Action, France, 30 July 1916, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers-la Boisselle
Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers la Boisselle, Picardie, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Norwood Baptist Church WW1 Honour Rolls, Norwood Primary School Honour Board, Norwood War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

21 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Keswick, South Australia
22 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, 8347, 6th Field Artillery Brigade , Battle for Pozières
22 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, 8347, 6th Field Artillery Brigade , HMAT Persic, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Adelaide Botanic High School

Ward William Story was born on the 9th of June 1894 in Norwood, South Australia to parents William Harrison and Sarah Story. He went to Norwood State School and then he later studied to be an Engineer. He was Anglican and was single. He enlisted on the 21st of June 1915 in Keswick, South Australia at the age of 21. Because of Ward’s engineering skills, he was assigned to the 34th Australian Field Artillery Battery but was later moved to the 6th Field Brigade, Battery 18. He stayed as an artillery operator and was never moved to infantry because of those skills. His service number was 8347.

He embarked 5 months later as the rank of Corporal on the HMAT Persic in Melbourne on the 22nd of November 1915. His Brigade arrived in France to join the Somme Offensive on the Western Front. In July 1916, the battles of Fromelles and Pozières marked Australia's entry onto the Western Front of the Great War. The battle of Fromelles was a feint in an attempt to deceive the Germans. Many lives and resources were lost, and no progress was made. After this battle was over, his Artillery Battery joined other Battalions on the frontline in the south to try and capture Pozieres. He was promoted to Sergeant during this battle. The British Fourth Army had attempted to take Pozières three weeks earlier, on the first day of the Somme Offensive but were unsuccessful each time they tried. After a few weeks, the Brits left, and it was up to the Aussies. At Pozières the 1st Division would initially succeed in taking the village, only to get bombarded by German artillery. The 2nd Division said there were more than 5200 deaths. This was a deadly battle for Ward and his brigade to join.

On the 23rd of July at half an hour past midnight, The Australian 1st Division began an attack to recapture Pozières with the 1st Brigade, 3rd Brigade and the British 48th Division. At 12:30 am Ward and his brigade lifted their fire, bombing targets behind the German trenches to support the 1st and 3rd Brigade's assault. The assault succeeded and the Allied forces quickly recaptured Pozières. Fighting went on throughout the darkness and then when the sun rose the Germans launched a counterattack which failed due to the Australian's heavy bombardments. The Australian and British infantry pushed up to the Old German Lines supported by Wards battery. Holding the Old German Lines was tough for the Australian forces. The German fortification was strong, and the Australians had to dig in deeper. In mid-afternoon, Ward and the 6th Field Brigade lifted their fire again to help the infantry secure the village for sure.

As night fell on the 23rd of July Ward and his Brigade dug in closer to where the Germans were. It was a difficult task, but it worked. On the next day, the Allied forces were ordered to push even further. This looked like an impossible task and led to lines going back and forth for a while. Over the next few days, the Germans and Australians just kept bombarding each other. The barrage was visible for miles, shooting smoke and debris. Some of Wards Battery was outside the line of German fire, others were sheltered in the deep dugouts while others still had to endure the terrible shell fire in the shelter of shell holes or broken trenches. Ward was one of the people who had to keep fighting and unfortunately on the 30th of July killed by the countless number of barrages on the Old German Lines. 

Ward William Story is buried in the Gordon Dump Cemetery, in Picardie, France. Ward and his batteries actions let the Allied forces advance through France and Germany. Ward William Story is now remembered at the Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Norwood Baptist Church, and the Norwood War Memorial.

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