GILLIES, William

Service Number: 3071
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 59th Infantry Battalion
Born: Cumbernauld, Dumbartonshire, Scotland, 1877
Home Town: Coburg, Moreland, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Died of wounds, France, 10 August 1916
Cemetery: Calais Southern Cemetery, France
Plot E, Row 4, Grave No. 13, Calais Southern Cemetery, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

12 Jul 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3071, 8th Infantry Battalion
29 Sep 1915: Involvement Private, SN 3071, 8th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
29 Sep 1915: Embarked Private, SN 3071, 8th Infantry Battalion, RMS Osterley, Adelaide
10 Aug 1916: Involvement Private, SN 3071, 59th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

William Gillies was born in Cumbernauld in Scotland and was stated to be the foster brother of 3003A Private James Anderson 59th Battalion. His foster mother was Martha Calderwood Anderson who lived at 435 Sydney Road, Coburg, Victoria, which was the address William gave when he enlisted.

Gillies and Anderson both enlisted the same week in July 1915 with the 8th Battalion. William Gillies was 38 years of age. They both transferred to the 59th Battalion in Egypt and were both involved in the disastrous attack at Fromelles.

One suspects William died a terrible death at Fromelles as he probably lay out on the battlefield for many days. Listed as wounded in action 19 July 1916, he was admitted to the 14th Field Ambulance with gunshot wounds to his shoulder and arm, on the 26 July 1916, a full week after the Battle of Fromelles started. It was noted he had a fractured humerus bone. He was taken to a General Hospital in Calais and died there on the 10 August 1916. His cause of death was given was starvation and pneumonia. This was probably as a result of being unable to move on the battlefield and not being found or brought in for many days. No Red Cross file exists for him.

In his service file his medals went to his father in Cumbernauld, Dunbartonshire, Scotland. His foster mother, Martha Anderson, was rejected for a pension on the grounds she was not a dependant.

William was buried in the Calais Southern Cemetery, Nord Pas de Calais, France, along with 33 other Australians.

His foster brother, James Anderson was killed in action at Fromelles, aged 19, and has no known grave.