WOOTTON, William

Service Number: 7606
Enlisted: 6 March 1917, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 14th Infantry Battalion
Born: Gladstone, Queensland, Australia, 18 May 1895
Home Town: Rockhampton, Rockhampton, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Killed in Action, France, 31 May 1918, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Allonville Communal Cemetery
Grave B. 12.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

6 Mar 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 7606, Brisbane, Queensland
14 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 7606, 15th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
14 Jun 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 7606, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Hororata, Sydney
4 May 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 14th Infantry Battalion
31 May 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 7606, 14th Infantry Battalion, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front"

Devoted solider and dedicated friend

William WOOTTON (sn 7606) was born at Gladstone, QLD, on 18 May 1895.

In 1916, William married Ina (Martha) BRODIE. He worked as a labourer and they lived at 458 Upper Roma Street Brisbane, QLD.

On 6 March 1917, William WOOTTON joined the 25 – 15th Battalion as a private. Three months later he departed Sydney aboard the HMAT A20 Hororata, bound for England. He was hospitalised aboard the ship for a week, suffering mumps in August 1917. In England, William WOOTTON spent from August to November 1917 at the Codford Training Camp in Wiltshire. This is where William WOOTTON became mates with another Australian private, Bertie George ENGLERT (7342) of the 14th Battalion.

In March 1918, William WOOTTON travelled to France from Southampton to join the fighting on the Western front. When William learned that his mate Bertie ENGLERT was also in France, he requested a transfer to Bertie’s 14th Battalion. This decision would end in tragedy.

In the early hours of 31 May 1918, soldiers of the 14th Battalion were sleeping soundly in two barns on the grounds of the Allonville Chateau north-east of Amiens in France. Witness accounts from the time confirm that close mates William and Bertie were side by side on their makeshift bunks. Just after 2am, two German shells – fired from behind enemy lines some 9 miles away – struck both barns, destroying roofs and walls. William WOOTTON and his mate Bertie ENGLERT were among the many Australian soldiers killed instantly.

William, Bertie, and the other victims of the bombing are buried at the Allonville Communal Cemetery in France.

William WOOTTON’s widow, Ina Martha, remarried sometime after the war, and it took until 1932 for her to receive William’s Victory Medal, Memorial Plaque, 1914/15 Star and his British War Medal.

Lest we forget.

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Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

He was 24 and a son of John and Frances Wootton.

He is remembered on the war memorial at BYFORD & MANSEL GAMAGE, along with his brother who also fell. He was Thomas Wootton-Sergeant -Regimental number  416-Australian Infantry 16th Battalion.He died on Wednesday 26 September 1917-Age 26