William Hay GOSSE MC

GOSSE, William Hay

Service Number: 104
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: Royal Field Artillery
Born: Kent Town, South Australia, 2 October 1875
Home Town: Kent Town, Norwood Payneham St Peters, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Medical Student
Died: Killed In Action, France, 5 April 1918, aged 42 years
Cemetery: Varennes Military Cemetery
I.L. 21
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board
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Boer War Service

1 Oct 1899: Involvement Trooper, 104, 2nd South Australian Mounted Rifles
26 Jan 1900: Involvement AIF WW1, 2nd South Australian Mounted Contingent


26 Jan 1900: Embarked AIF WW1, SS Surrey

World War 1 Service

7 May 1915: Involvement Major
15 Jul 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Royal Field Artillery, He joined "A" Battery 80th Brigade R.F.A. at Swanage from May 1915 as a Lieutenant. He embarked with them on the SS Manchester Importer from Southampton, arriving at 0430 on 15 July 1915.
4 Sep 1916: Involvement Royal Field Artillery
18 Apr 1917: Wounded Royal Field Artillery, Wounded at Monchy-le-Preux.
15 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Royal Field Artillery, Wounded at Langemarck near Ypres by shell on Battery position.

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William Gosse was the son of William and Agnes (nee Hay) Gosse, of Kent Town, South Australia.  His father was well known as an explorer and expeditioner.


He was born on 2 October 1875 and subseuqently educated at St Peter's College and at Adelaide and Melbourne Universities.


He enlisted for service in South Africa with the Second South Australian Mounted Rifles Contngent in the South African (Boer) war. He was awarded the Queens South Africa Medal and five clasps.


He served in the First World War with the British Army, as an officer in the Royal Artillery. He was awarded a Military Cross, the details of which are not yet discovered. In April 1918 he was serving in "A" Battery 79th Field Artillery Brigade when he was killed in action. At the rank of Major he was presumably the Battery Commander. He is buried in Varennes Military Cemetery, I L 21

William Hay Gosse married Muriel, née Davidson, who died in 1920. Their son George Gosse (en.wikipedia.org) (1912-1964) served in the RAN in the early 1930s and again during WW II.  He became a mine disposal expert and was awarded the George Cross (en.wikipedia.org)  in 1946 clearing mines in Bremen harbour.  See separate entry.


From the book Fallen Saints - William Hay Gosse was born in Adelaide, in 1875. He was the son of famous Australian surveyor and explorer William Christie Gosse and received his early education at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School and Geelong College. He and his brother James (later Knighted) commenced their studies at the Collegiate School of St. Peter in 1886.

William enlisted for service in the South Africa War as 104 Trooper William Hay Gosse, 2nd Mounted Rifles Contingent. He later took up farming and married Muriel Davidson who in 1912 gave birth to a son George who like his father and uncle before him was educated at the Collegiate School of St Peter; during World War II he was awarded the George Cross. [i]

W.H. Gosse, who took up land two years ago (1908) in Western Australia, has been spending a holiday in the Eastern States. He is to be married shortly. [ii]

In 1910 while in Western Australia, William always the great sportsman and loyal Old Blue cabled the School seeking clarification about the results of one the School’s football games.

W.H. Gosse wired from Western Australia for the proper results of the football match, as some of the papers there gave the victory to our opponents. The same thing also occurred in Victoria. [iii]

Major William Hay Gosse MC, A Battery, 79th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery was killed in action on 5 April 1918; he was 42 years of age.

Temp. Capt. William Hay Gosse, R.F.A. - Award - Military Cross. [iv]

[i] Crawford I McL, 'Gosse, George (1912 - 1964), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, Melbourne University Press, 1996, p. 300-301
[ii] St Peter’s School Magazine - W K Thomas & Co, Adelaide, May 1911, p. 38
[iii] ibid, August 1910, p. 39
[iv] London Gazette, Gosse, William Hay - Issue 29886 published on the 29 December 1916, p. 34 of 56