William MERCER


MERCER, William

Service Number: 3675
Enlisted: 16 May 1917, Port Lincoln, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Glasgow, Scotland, August 1892
Home Town: Mortana, Streaky Bay, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Died of wounds - shell burst 13/4/1918, France, 13 April 1918
Cemetery: St. Pierre Cemetery, Amiens
St. Pierre Cemetery (Plot XII, Row G, Grave No. 3), Amiens, France, St Pierre Cemetery, Amiens, Picardie, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Streaky Bay War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

16 May 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3675, 50th Infantry Battalion, Port Lincoln, South Australia
16 May 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3675, 50th Infantry Battalion, Port Lincoln, South Australia
4 Aug 1917: Involvement Private, SN 3675, 50th Infantry Battalion
4 Aug 1917: Embarked Private, SN 3675, 50th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Themistocles, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Private number 3675 William Mercer
50th Australian Infantry Battalion

Behind the rows of their white graves between which grow the red poppies of Remembrance, more than a hundred years later, still stand proud and young, a whole generation of men who, in the Somme, on these soils of France, for their country and for us, gave their today for our tomorrow in the now peaceful fields in which they gave their lives and lay down for eternity in the fields of poppies in which their memory and their history remains alive in the shroud of Remembrance as well that in our hearts and in our thoughts in which, for eternity, they will never cease to live and to be honored, to be remembered with the respect and the love, the gratitude that they all deserve for what they gave and did for us.

Today,it is with all my heart and with gratitude that I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme who fought and fell with bravery,I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 3675 William Mercer who fought in the 50th Australian Infantry Battalion and who died of his wounds 103 years ago, on April 13, 1918 at the age of 25 on the Somme front.

William Mercer was born in 1892 in Glasgow, Scotland, and was the son of Elizabeth Mercer (née Cameron), of 8 Alma Street, Glasgow, where William grew up but after a few years in Scotland he moved to South Australia and lived in Mortana, Streaky Bay, South Australia, where he worked as a labourer.

Enlisted on May 16, 1917 at Port Lincoln, South Australia, in the 50th Australian Infantry Battalion, 10th Reinforcement, 4th Australian Division, he embarked with his unit from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on August 4, 1917 and sailed for Glasgow, Scotland, where he arrived on October 2, 1917 and where he had the chance to see his mother again before joining England the next day, on October 3 and then sent to Codford, Wiltshire, to receive his training in the 13th Training Battalion on the Salisbury Plain.A month later, on November 10, 1917, William fell ill and was sent to a hospital where he remained until November 14. Two months later, on January 16, 1918, he embarked with his unit from Southampton and sailed for France where he was disembarked the next day, on January 17, 1918 at the port of Le Havre and a week later, on January 26, he was taken on strength in the 50th Australian Infantry Battalion in the Somme where he fought with great courage.

Unfortunately, it was in the Somme, three months later, on April 13, 1918, in the sector of Corbie, near Amiens, that William was seriously wounded, probably by a shell and was immediately evacuated to the 55th Field Ambulance in Amiens,where he died a few hours later,he was 25 years old and was affectionately called Scotty.
Today, William Mercer rests in peace with his comrades, friends and brothers in arms at St Pierre Cemetery, Amiens, Somme.
William, you who served with honor and bravery for Australia, with loyalty for your adopted country and who with courage fought on the soils of France here in the Somme, where you rest today through the peaceful fields of poppies on which you gave your life, I would like, from the bottom of my heart, with eternal and deep gratitude, to say thank you for all that you have done for us, for each of us who live in peace for which you fought and fell with your comrades, who, like you, with determination and resolution did their duty in an exemplary manner.Side by side with your brothers in arms, you have walked thousands of kilometers, driven by the burning desire to do your duty and serve noble causes under the same uniforms as your friends, for justice and freedom you have faced storms of steel, for peace and humanity, you have gone through hurricanes of fire under rains of blood, walking through fields of mud and death through miles of barbed wire, scar of a war that set the world ablaze on once lush and peaceful soils that became fields of ruin and devastation under the constant, daily and endless fire of thousands of cannons that rained tons of sharp steel on the shoulders of young and innocent men , which in an instant were swept away in cataclysmic explosions that made the battlefield and the hearts of these young men tremble.Under relentless torrents of bullets, they charged together under the murderous fire of machine guns which mowed down a whole generation of those young boys who, one by one, with gallantry, heroism and bravery, fell and shed their blood. They served with gallantry and determination, with coolness, in the brotherhood and friendship that they shared with their friends, their brothers, their fathers who fought with them in the trenches, sharing the joys and the sorrows, the pains and the tears when they saw their who fell on no man's land in courageous and determined assaults, bayonets forward and which often ended in bloodbaths, in hand-to-hand combat, in the fury and howl of the men who, until the end, fought with the courage of lions.In this endless nightmare, they found in themselves and in each other, the strength and courage to move forward, to keep their smile in an admirable sense of humor and that is with their heads held high.They remained strong and united, they faced the horrors of the battlefields which tried to rob them of their courage and their humanity but this was not the case and it is together that they faced the dangers and death that awaited them over the parapet and it is fearless, guided by their courage and by their intrepid and brave officers that they went forward, showing the courage and determination of a whole nation who were proud of them but who lost so much of their sons.these men were heroes many of whom were awarded medals for their courage but they were all, each of them, real heroes who gave their youth, their courage, their future, their lives and it is always side by side, under the silent shadows of their white graves that they rest in peace, on the soils of a friendly country that will always watch over them.Brave and young forever, they still stand where they fell and continue to walk through the peaceful and serene fields of the Somme where I would never cease to watch over them so that their memory and their history may be kept alive so that their names,their faces, who they were and what they did for us will never be forgotten.Thank you so much William,for everything.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.