William John BRANDIE


BRANDIE, William John

Service Number: 3780
Enlisted: 6 May 1916, Lismore, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 31st Infantry Battalion
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, December 1892
Home Town: Clunes, Lismore Municipality, New South Wales
Schooling: Clunes State School
Occupation: Butcher
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 27 September 1917
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Lismore & District Memorial Honour Roll, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient)
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World War 1 Service

6 May 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3780, Lismore, New South Wales
19 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3780, 31st Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
19 Sep 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3780, 31st Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Choon, Brisbane
27 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3780, 31st Infantry Battalion, Polygon Wood


Northern Star, 2 November, 1917 page 7


St. Peter's Church of England proved too small to accommodate the large number who attended to pay their respect to the memory of the late Private W I Brandie, A I F, who fell in action in France. Though extra seats were placed up the aisle and in every vacant spot many had to stand, while not a few were unable to gain admittance. Lady members of the church had tastefully and appropriately draped the chancel, Communion rails, lectern, and reading desk in black, relieved by fringes of white satin and bows of the same material with vases of Arum Lillies. A large Union Jack, kindly lent for the occasion, and the colours of deceased's regiment, whilst adding to the solemnity, quite eliminated all depressing effects. An orchestra, organ (Miss Florrie Shipman), violin (Mrs Geo Mc Niff), and violoncello (Mr. Ernest Mc Niven) assisted, and the service throughout was most impressive. The Vicar (Rev. F. Eveleigh) selected for his text Rev. ii. 10 : Faithful until death. He thought the words described minutely the faithfulness and devotion of the brave young soldier who so recently had fallen a martyr in the sacred cause of liberty on the stricken field of Flanders, whose passing they deeply deplored, and whose memory they had met to honour. Having described the early life of Private Brandie, familiarly known to most of them as Willie,’ the Vicar said his enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force was not unexpected. He entered camp at Enoggera oil the 8th of June, 1916, sailed for England, on September 19th, and arrived at Plymouth December 8th. After a brief stay of 22 days in the Motherland he left for France, where he trained for three months behind the lines and entered the firing line in March of the present year. On the 27th of September ‘Willie’ was numbered on the roll of Britain's honoured dead, having fallen in action at the capture of Zonnebeck Ridge. His body now lay in a foreign land far from the friends who loved him best, where none of his kith and kin could lay a flower upon his tomb, but he had left them the memory of, his faithfulness. His life had ‘taught them ; I something of the quiet beauty of faithful service, the beneficence of brave deeds bravely done, and they honoured him because his heart, was large enough to sacrifice himself for his friends and country. ' ‘He strove to make our nation free, not only from the sword's proud way, But from the spirit's slavery. '
' He had fallen fighting loyally for the Empire, and his fame would be reflected in the glory of self sacrifice. He had given himself for the infinitely good; cause of his nation in peril, and for the sake of eternal right, truth, and liberty, and there was nothing more great or more purely noble than a ‘living sacrifice.’ They could, therefore, rest assured ,that He who had set the great' example by giving Himself for the world would take note of man's self sacrifice for others — that He would own that sacrifice and reward it. Their departed friend and fellow townsman had been faithful up to the highest and supremest' sacrifice of life. As a son, a brother, a friend, and a workman, he was faithful, as soldier he was "faithful unto death,’ falling at the place of perilous duty. His life had thus become ennobled by his faithful heroism, and fact's and personal incidents which in an ordinary life would be commonplace enough became intensely interesting when told of one who had given his life for us. The Vicar then quoted from his private letters, showing his love for ‘mum,’ the ‘dear little kiddies,’ whom he often ‘pictured playing round the house,’ his keen sympathy for those bereaved, and his gratitude for past' kindnesses shown him by Clunes friends, dwelling at some length upon his assurance to ‘mum' that she need not worry, as he was ‘on the straight road and now will play the man. Home, mother, friends, duty, and vital realities that guided his thoughts, balanced his judgment, and raised his moral life. His words, ‘will play the man,’ written from the front by the hand now still in death came as a clarion note loudly calling them to be faithful. First of all to God, their country, to themselves, their daily duties and to their church. The Vicar closed with words of comfort to the mourners, bidding them remember that their loved one's life was not wasted. He has gone, but not into nothing. The faithful I who had laid down their lives for righteousness sake were not lost, only transferred, raised to a higher plane exactly according to God's plan, they were that very moment just where they were most wanted…..

Clunes Clues, November, 2009
In the October Clunes Clues I put out a call for information on one Pte W J Bandies, born in 1880 in Clunes and killed in the First World War as mentioned in a card placed at the Clunes memorial in September.
Two prominent locals remembered the family that he probably came from and both stated the surname as ‘Brandie’. It seems the person who placed the card and flowers at the memorial got his name wrong. The saga deepens. Ed
Ian Francis wrote:
Through poor handwriting and/or reading the surname printed in the Clunes Clues is incorrect. It should be BRANDIE. From my memory, Doris (Dot) Brandie was the Postmistress/telephone exchange operator at Clunes when I was a small, innocent boy. My father was friends with a Mozzie Brandie who lived in Jarvis Street, probably where his friends once lived. From Australian Archive records William John Brandie enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces on 6th May, 1916 at the age of 23 years 7 months. He was a butcher by trade. He was not married so the next question is: who is the caring person who placed the wreath?

PTE W J BRANDIE- Private William John Brandie, a butcher by trade, known in Clunes as Willie and to his comrades in France as Billie, was mentioned in the Clunes Clues in October and November, 2009 after someone had anonymously placed a wreath in the park at Clunes in his honour. He enlisted in Brisbane in May 1916, sailed for England in September arriving on 8 December. Three weeks later he left for the battle fields of France. He was killed in action on 27 September, 1917. St Peters Church of England, Clunes was packed to over flowing for his memorial service, conducted by the Reverend Eveleigh, in November. The following February, Private A Mayne wrote to Willie’s mother describing the circumstances of his death:

Northern Star, Monday 29 April 1918, page 2

You have one consolation and that is your son died a soldier's death and that is more than some of those cowardly beggars that are left behind can say. You can tell them for me that they are a dirty lot of shirkers, and when we boys get home we won't forget to tell them so. Well, Mrs Brandie, poor Billie was killed by a sniper. I saw him fall and ran up to him and said, ‘Bill, old boy, has he got you.’ Then I took off his hat and saw that life was over, due to the bullet wound in the head, and he died without pain. Well, I had a good cry as I could do nothing for him. I then stuck his rifle in the ground and put a piece of white rag on it so that the burial party could find his body. I never got the chance to see his grave, because we left Polygon Wood, but if we go back there I will do what I can for you. I hope you received Billie's effects all right, as I put them together and gave to them one of our officers and he said he would send them on. Poor Bill was always talking of home, and said how he wished to be home with his dear mother and sisters, he always had a good word for you; but never mind, he died a brave soldier fighting under the lovely flag they call the Union Jack, what a lot of the shirkers left behind will never be able to say.

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