Wilfred Harold (Wobbler) NELSEN

NELSEN, Wilfred Harold

Service Number: 882
Enlisted: 26 February 1915, Keswick, West Torrens, South Australia
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Clarendon, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, May 1893
Home Town: Broken Hill, Broken Hill Municipality, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Engine Driver
Died: Killed in Action, Pozieres, Departement de la Somme - Picardie, France, 4 August 1916
Cemetery: Courcelette British Cemetery
II. G. 20., Courcelette British Cemetery, Picardie, France, AIF Burial Ground, Flers, Picardie, France, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Broken Hill Barrier District Roll of Honour, Broken Hill Railwaytown War Memorial, Broken Hill War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

26 Feb 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Keswick, West Torrens, South Australia
31 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 882, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
31 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 882, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1,

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Geelong embarkation_ship_number: A2 public_note: ''

12 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 882, 27th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli
5 Nov 1915: Wounded Reported sick to 7th field ambulance
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 882, 27th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Battle for Pozières
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Battle for Pozières

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Peter and Elizabeth NELSEN, 105 Pell Street, Railway Town, Broken Hill, New South Wales

Engine Driver of Broken Hill.

Wilfred Harold Nelsen was born in Clarendon, South Australia, in May 1893 to Elizabeth Elridge and Peter Nelsen. The Nelsens lived at 105 Pell Street, Railway Town, Broken Hill, New South Wales. Wilfred had three brothers: Horace, Albert, and Oscar, and a younger sister called Beatrice. They also had three brothers and four sisters who died in infancy between 1895 and 1895.

Wilfred was a train driver, or an ‘engine driver’ as it was called at the time, a Methodist and single when he enlisted for the Australian Army on the 26th of February, 1915. He enlisted at Keswick at the age of 22 years and 8 months.

Wilfred (service number 882) was placed into the 27th Infantry Battalion, and embarked from Port Adelaide on the HMAT Geelong on the 21st of April, 1915. The ship arrived at Egypt on the second of July.


Wilfred embarked from Alexandria to Gallipoli on the fourth of September, 1915. At Gallipoli, he fought ay the Cheshire Ridge position, from the tenth of September.

On the fifth of November, he was reported sick to the Seventh Field Ambulance. On the third of December, he was transferred to the 13th Casualty Clearing Hospital, where he was diagnosed with rheumatism. He was sent back to Alexandria, where he spent the rest of the year in various hospitals. On the twenty-first he was transferred to the No.3 Aux Hospital, Heliopolis, Egypt. On the first of January, 1916, he was transferred to Helouan, and he was discharged to duty eight days later. He rejoined the 27th battalion on the fifth of March.

When he rejoined the battalion, they were not fighting, but preparing to fight on the western front. On the seventh of April, they entered the Battle of Armentieres. On the seventh of July, however, they were to march to the Somme and take part in the Battle of Pozieres. At some point during the war, he was promoted from Private to Lance Corporal.

On July the 28th, the 7th brigade launched an attack on the Germans, while the 27th Battalion was held back, as a reserve. The 7th brigade’s attack proved unsuccessful and on the 4th of August, the 27th Battalion were to launch a second attack.

This proved fatal for Wilfred. On the day that the 27th Battalion attacked, Wilfred was reported wounded. On the fourth of November, The Nelsens received a letter informing that Wilfred was now reported wounded and missing, since the 4th of August.

Wilfred’s few possessions were sent back to the Nelsen family on the 25th of July, 1917. On August 17th, Mr Nelsen sent a letter asking if his son had been killed, since they hadn’t been notified yet. On the 24th of August, over a year since Wilfred was killed, the Nelsens received the devastating letter.

Wilfred is buried in the Courcelette British Cemetery, in France. His grave location is Plot II, Row G, grave no 20.


Wilfred showed a lot of the ANZAC spirit. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and people who show the ANZAC spirit are courageous, good friends, and they have greatamounts of endurance, both physically and mentally. Wilfred, at such a young age, fought for the freedom of our country.

Wilfred would have showed the ANZAC spirit while in hospital for two months. It would have required great endurance to get through that, and courage.

He died at 23, for the freedom of Australia.