William Joseph Bently BOTT


BOTT, William Joseph Bently

Service Number: 375
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 24th Infantry Battalion
Born: Not yet discovered
Home Town: Kalangadoo, Wattle Range, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Killed in Service, Belgium, 9 October 1917, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kalangadoo War Memorial Park Gates, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient), Mount Gambier War Memorial, Penola Coonawarra & Penola Sub-Branch R.S.S.&A.I.L.A. Honour Roll, Penola District WW1 Roll of Honor, Penola War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

10 May 1915: Involvement Private, SN 375, 24th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
10 May 1915: Embarked Private, SN 375, 24th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Melbourne

William Joseph Bently Bott

Private William Joseph Bott was known as Ben. He was born in Mount Gambier 29th August 1885. He was the 8th child of William Joseph (Jacob) Bott and Jane Matilda Bott.

Private Bott’s parents moved from Nairne to Yahl paddock where some of their nine children were born. They later moved to Kalangadoo. They lived four miles out of town at what is known as Bott’s swamp.

William attended the Kalangadoo School. from 1892 until 1899.

On the 22nd March 1915 William Bott joined the A.I.F as a private in the 24th Battalion, B Company.

The 24th Battalion had to be organised, largely from raw recruits, and equipped for embarkation overseas on just over one week’s notice.

The 24th Battalion embarked from Melbourne Vic aboard the H.M.A.T. A14 Euripides on the 10th May 1915.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, 5th September, 1915, the Battalion received it’s baptism of fire at Gallipoli.

The troops, as they gained ground, proceeded quietly around Hell’s Spit to Rest Gully, One of the first things to be distinguished was the cemetery, not a very cheerful sign for initiation.

Daylight, eagerly awaited, only to reveal Gallipoli as a scene resembling a vast mining camp.

On the 10th September the Battalion went in the “Lone Pine” trenches. “Lone Pine” was reached by underground tunnels, which had been excavated by the First Division.

The nearness of the enemy’s positions and the danger of attack without warning demanded the strictest vigilance on the part of the troops.

The famous sector of “Mule Gully”, Battleship Hill”, “Johnson’s Jolly” “Chessboard” “Pimple” “Brown’s Dip” and “Gun Lane” was the firing line that the Battalion faced the Turks during the period of their activities on Gallipoli, which extended over 16 weeks.

“Evacuation of Gallipoli”. On the 18th December the whole of the Lone Pine front was taken over by the 24th Battalion. A timetable was arranged for the withdrawal of the various parties, which were to rendezvous in “Gun Lane” and be checked, prior to moving down the beach.

The following order was issued to the rearguard parties ”All movements will be made expeditiously and in silence. The utmost care will be taken to maintain the appearance of a normal night. No lights or smoking will be permitted. Talking will not be allowed, and orders will be given in an undertone. There must be no use of the word ‘retire’.”

Their orders were to hold the line at all costs until 3.00am. If attacked they must fight to the last man– there must be no retirement before the appointed time. The evacuation proceeded so satisfactorily that it was found possible to order the withdrawal of the rearguard at 2.40am, 20 minutes earlier than the appointed time. Yet when the order came to quit, there was a tinge of regret that the last desperate struggle had not come.

It was hard to give up the ground in any case, but it would have been easier to say farewell if the scarifies of the dead had found the reward of success as well as the glory of noble effort. That the job had to be left uncompleted was no fault of the troops, yet it pained them to give up the task.

The departure of the different parties at the appointed times and the embarkation of the troops on the barges at the beach went on smoothly and without a hitch. Some of the earlier parties were conveyed on warships to Imbros, the remainder being taken to Lemnos.

Private Bott spent time in Egypt and London in and out of hospital with illness before taken on strength in France with his Battalion in August 1917.
His first major battle was at Ypres, Belgium on the 26th September, attacking on the Broodseinde Ridge

On the evening of the 8th October assault troops, severely hampered by the heavy going and drenching cold rain, laboured to their starting lines on the eight mile attack frontage, At zero hour, 5.20am the following morning, exhausted and under strength British and Australian units attacked in atrocious conditions behind a ragged and inaccurate barrage.

At the centre of the attack Private Bott met ferocious machine gun fire from the undestroyed German pillboxes and shell hole defences on the forward slopes.
Around midday fierce German defensive fire forced withdrawals and, by afternoon, survivors were back on their start lines.

It was here that Private William Bott met his fate.

William Joseph Bently Bott is listed as K.I.A. 9th October 1917 and his details are listed on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.

Private Bott was awarded the following war medals

1914—1915 Star
The British War Medal
The Victory Medal

The family received a Memorial Scroll and Memorial plaque and Where the Australian Rest.

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