William Edward ISAACSON


ISAACSON, William Edward

Service Number: 2183
Enlisted: 25 April 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Undalya, South Australia, 22 March 1896
Home Town: Auburn, Clare and Gilbert Valleys, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College, Adelaide
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, Passchendaele, Belgium, 12 October 1917, aged 21 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Auburn St John Anglican Church Memorial Panels, Auburn Undalya School WW1 Roll of Honour, Auburn War WW1 Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Gepps Cross Auburn Ancient Order of Foresters WW1 Roll of Honour, Gepps Cross Auburn Literary Society Honour Roll, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient)
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World War 1 Service

25 Apr 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2183, Adelaide, South Australia
12 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2183, 48th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
12 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2183, 48th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Adelaide
12 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2183, 48th Infantry Battalion, 1st Passchendaele

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Son of James Edward ISAACSON and Mary Ann nee MICHELL


From the book Fallen Saints

William Edward Isaacson of Hindmarsh was born at Undalya, South Australia in 1896. Before the war, he was a farmer near the town of Auburn South Australia and his only previous military experience was the six months he served in the senior cadets while at St Peter's College, Adelaide.

He enlisted in Adelaide on 25 April 1916 and joined the 4th quota of reinforcements for the 48th Battalion at Mitcham Camp.  The 4th reinforcements sailed from Adelaide aboard HMAT Ballarat on 12 August and disembarked at Plymouth, England at the end of September. Private Isaacson proceeded to France on 28 December and marched into the 4th Australian Division Base Depot, Étaples the following day. He was admitted to hospital with Laryngitis on 19 February and after a fortnight at Cayeux in No 5 Convalescent Depot returned to the Base Depot at Étaples but did not join the battalion until 21 June.

After Passchendaele, 2183 Private Isaacson was listed as wounded but this was later changed to missing and a Court of Inquiry held on 8 April 1918 found he was killed in action on 12 October 1917; he was 21 years of age.

On 26 August 1921 his father forwarded a letter to Base Records he had received from Private Alfred Juers dated 5 August 1918. This letter according to Mister Isaacson was the only information he and his family had received about his son’s movements around the time of his death; he said Juers had promised to call but never did. (Three days after writing to the family, Private Juers was wounded during the advance on Proyart 8/9 August 1918 and for his bravery there was later awarded the MM)

‘You will note from Juers remarks, the conditions under which our dear boys were fighting as he speaks of the mud in The battle of 12 Oct  17 (the day on which he was killed)  was all against us, … It seems possible that our dear boy was either, killed by a shell or buried in the slush. This has always been a painful subject to write about …. [i]

[i] National Archives of Australia: B 2455, Isaacson William Edward/ 7368139, viewed 5 December 2007