William James COYLE

COYLE, William James

Service Number: 10506
Enlisted: 24 July 1915
Last Rank: Gunner
Last Unit: 1st Divisional Ammunition Column
Born: Gowangardie East, 1889
Home Town: Caniambo, Victoria
Schooling: Koonda, Upotipotpon State School
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Frankston, Victoria, 1978, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Yallourn Cemetery
Memorials: Violet Town Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

24 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, SN 10506
5 Jan 1916: Involvement Gunner, SN 10506, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column
5 Jan 1916: Embarked Gunner, SN 10506, 1st Divisional Ammunition Column, HMAT Afric, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Elsa Reuter

COYLE William James 10506 DVR
14th Field Artillery Brigade

William Coyle’s father migrated from Ireland to Australia about 1853. He married Margaret Ann Wright born in 1855, and settled in the Gowangardie East district.  They had a family of eight children of whom William was the older of two sons. The nearest schools were Koonda and Upotipotpon on whose Honour Boards his name appears.

William enlisted on 24 July 1915 when he was 25.  His Service Records state that he had been working as a labourer his father being named as his next of kin. However a letter written by his mother in July 1915 denying all knowledge of her husband’s whereabouts, requested that she be noted as her son’s NOK and all communication be sent to her.

On 5 January 1916 after his initial training, William embarked for overseas on HMAT Afric bound for Egypt.  In February he arrived in Alexandria from where he was taken on strength of the 1st Division Ammunition Column. In March he was posted to the 14th Field Artillery Brigade and mustered as a driver in the 55th Battery.  Following the withdrawal from Gallipoli the war front shifted to France and William sailed in early June from Alexandria to Marseilles.  

There was the usual training in preparation for war at the Front, during which time William was hospitalised at the 1st AGH, Rouen suffering from bronchitis.   Less than a week later he was transferred to Parkhouse in England for training. In October of the following year after returning to the front he was gassed and hospitalised again in Rouen.

In November 1918 the war was over and troops were being sent home to Australia. Will sailed on the Lakada in July 1919 and was discharged in Melbourne on 30 October the same year.

Returning to Violet Town he is listed in the Electoral Rolls as a ‘Branch Manager’. Further evidence suggests that his employment was that of a stock and station agent.

He married Susan Eileen Brien in 1921 and raised a family of a boy William James Coyle (1921-1998), a girl Eileen Isobel (1923-2003) and another boy Brien (Barney) (1925-1998). Susan died in 1961. Will entered a War Veteran’s Home at Frankston 1967 where he died a year later.  He is buried at Yallourn cemetery.

Memorials:  Main Honour Board, Memorial Hall, Violet Town
                  Koonda State School Honour Board
                  Upotipotpon State School

 © 2017 Sheila Burnell