William Hermann (Bill) ZORNIG


ZORNIG, William Hermann

Service Number: 2744
Enlisted: 5 September 1916
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 47th Infantry Battalion
Born: Rosewood, Queensland, February 1896
Home Town: Ipswich, Queensland
Schooling: Ipswich State School
Occupation: Railway Night Officer
Died: Died of wounds, Villers-Brettoneux, France, 16 May 1918
Cemetery: Adelaide Cemetery Villers-Bretonneux
III, A, 10
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Beenleigh War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

5 Sep 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2744, 47th Infantry Battalion
27 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2744, 47th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
27 Oct 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2744, 47th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Marathon, Brisbane
16 May 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 2744, 47th Infantry Battalion, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front"

Help us honour William Hermann Zornig's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Julianne Ryan

Born 27 February 1895, Rosewood, Queensland.

Father Frederick Herman Carl Zornig
(b. 20/10/1868 Eagleby, QLD - d. 18/12/1948 QLD)
buried in Hemmant Cemetery, Brisbane, QLD, Plot: Monumental. D. 7. 4

Married: 14 November 1893, in Ipswich, Queensland

Mother Elizabeth Kate Zornig (nee Wyatte)
(b. 27/12/1875 - d. 06/08/1949 
buried in Hemmant Cemetery, Brisbane, QLD, Plot: Monumental. D. 7. 5
(worked as a Station Mistress),
lived at Stapylton, South Coast Line, QLD.

Ivy Lousie Zornig   (b. 17/03/1894 Ipswich - d. 28/06/1987)
  m. James Leeke
William (Bill) Herman Zornig   (b. 27/02/1895 Rosewood - d. 18/03/1918)
Vera Elizabeth "Smokey" Zornig  (b. 19/12/1899 Rosewood - d. 14/10/1996)
  m. Neil Harold Dawson
  buried in Hemmant Cemetery, Brisbane, QLD, Plot: Monumental. D. 7. 5
Leonard Ernest Zornig   (b. 11/02/1908 - d. 04/06/1987)
  m. Alice May Winnett

Next of kin in service:
Brother:  50740 Private Harold Victor Zornig
              15/11/1917  enlisted as a Private with QLD Reinforcement 1
              08/05/1918  embarked Sydney, NSW onboard RMS Osterley
              Last rank:  Private with 41st Battalion
              28/03/1919  Returned to Australia
              29/06/1981  passed away

Cousin:   5219 Private William James Wyatte
              17/11/1915 enlisted as a Private in 15th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
              31/03/1916  embarked from Sydney, NSW onboard HMAT A16 Star Of Victoria
              Last rank: Private with 47th Battalion
              27/08/1917  Returned to Australia
              31/08/1974  passed away
                                Plaque in QLD Garden of Remembrance

A popular young man know for his good nature and athletic ability, Bill said goodbye to his family on the old Victoria Bridge in Brisbane, rather than at the dockside to spare his mother the sadness of seeing the ship leave the shore.

Described on enlisting as 20 years old; single;

05/09/1916    enlisted in Brisbane, QLD

27/10/1916    embarked from Brisbane QLD, onboard HMAT Marathon A74
                     as a Private with 47th Infantry Battalion, 6th reinforcements

Bill spent his 21st birthday in England with friends Mr and Mrs Bardacre and family and when leaving said, "Goodbye, I don't think I will be back."

1917              Promoted to Lance Corporal in France

22/01/1918    Promoted to Corporal in France

***SERVICE RECORDS - need to be ORDERED through the National Archives of Australia.

A soldier who saw what happened, later told Bill's family that no fighting was in progress as both the Germans and Australians were in their trenches. An English plane came down in no man's land (the area between the trenches), and a German machine gun opened fire on the plane.

Bill went over the top of the trench and ran to pull the pilot out and get him to safety. On the way back, Bill was shot in the legs, but continued to crawl towards his lines with the pilot clinging to his back.

A sergeant waving a white flag, went to their assistance and helped them into the trench. Bill was suffering from loss of blood and a subsequent shell burst killed him. The following is a copy of the official letter received by Bill's mother.

"Dear Mrs. Zornig,
It is with feelings of regret that I write to confirm the death in action of your son, William. One of our planes was shot down in "No Man's Land", close to the trench where your son was. Seeing that the pilot was still alive, your son and another sergeant rushed out, but your son was wounded. We got him in and sent him away to the dressing station, where he was well attended to. When he was being taken from the dressing station, enemy shell burst close to him and the shock killed him. The pilot's life was saved, thanks to your son's very brave and plucky action. The pilot was anxious to know who had saved him, so we pinned your son's name and address to his tunic.
My Commanding Officer desires me to convey to you his deepest sympathy in your sad bereavement will you please accept the deep sympathy of myself and the men under me, who fought by your son's side. Your loss is our loss. We can ill afford to lose men like you son. His utter disregard of danger to himself, was a very inspiring lesson to all. His name will live long in our memories on account of his very plucky action.
Yours etc.
WAR.HIND; Capt O/C A Coy. 47th Batt. A.I.F."

16/05/1918    died of wounds received in action, Villers-Brettoneaux, France
Buried in:       Adelaide Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France

His name is commemorated on Panel 144 at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT.


Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan.  28/12/2016.  Lest we forget.