William (Snowy) SWANSON

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SWANSON, William

Service Number: 5077
Enlisted: 18 December 1915, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 25th Infantry Battalion
Born: Brisbane, Queensland, 14 December 1896
Home Town: New Farm, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Fortitude Valley State School
Occupation: Apprentice boilermaker
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 1 November 1917, aged 20 years
Cemetery: White House Cemetery
Plot 3 Row Q Grave 14
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, New Farm State School War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

18 Dec 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 5077, Brisbane, Queensland
4 May 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5077, 25th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
4 May 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 5077, 25th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Choon, Brisbane
29 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5077, 25th Infantry Battalion, Pozières
20 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5077, 25th Infantry Battalion, Menin Road
1 Nov 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5077, 25th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Passchendaele

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Biography contributed by Bruce Kendrick

William 'Snowy' Swanson was the oldest of eight children to John and Charlotte Swanson. He did four years of cadets in Brisbane before he enlisted aged 19.

William saw action in Pozieres and the Somme as a Lewis machine gunner before the battalion was moved to Belgium and the hell of Passchendaele. Here he supported in the Second Battle of Bullecourt. However when moving to the front line to relieve another battalion on Zonnebeke Ridge he was hit by a gas shell and killed instantly.

William was a popular soldier and his death "caused profound sorrow among his friends". He was the only one to die that night. He was remembered because "he was the only one in the company with that name" and his blonde hair hence the nicknane snowy.

William's death devastated his family especially his mother who never recovered and was said to have died from a broken heart.

William Swanson is still remembered to this day and I am honoured to say he was my great uncle.

"SWANSON, William. Private, No. 5077, 25th Battn. Born at New Farm, Brisbane, in 1896, and educated at Brisbane Valley School. The son of John and Charlotte Jane Swanson, of Merthyr Road, New Farm. Brisbane. Prior to enlisting he was apprenticed to Messrs. Sargeants, boilermakers, of Brisbane. Enlisted January 9th, 1916, and went into Enoggera Camp for training. Left with the 13th Reinf. of 25th Battn. from Pinkenba on May 4th, 1916, and proceeded to England. Left England for France, and was killed at Passchendaele on November 1st, 1917."SOURCE (nla.gov.au) (p. 214)

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