Willie COLES


COLES, Willie

Service Number: B3255
Enlisted: 21 July 1941
Last Rank: Seaman
Last Unit: Not yet discovered
Born: Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, 8 June 1922
Home Town: Toowoomba, Toowoomba, Queensland
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Killed In Action, Indian Ocean, 4 March 1942, aged 19 years
Cemetery: Plymouth (Weston Mill) Cemetery Plymouth, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Plymouth Naval Memorial, Plymouth, Devon, England, United Kingdom
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kangaroo Point H.M.A.S. Moreton Honour Roll, Toowoomba Roll of Honour WW2, Toowoomba WW2 Roll of Honour Book, Toowoomba War Memorial (Mothers' Memorial)
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Ordinary Seaman, SN B3255
21 Jul 1941: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Seaman, SN B3255

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Biography contributed by Chris Buckley

Willie was the youngest of five children of George Franice Coles (born 1885 in Brisbane, QLD) and Sarah Jane Steel (born 1888 in Toowoomba, QLD). George, a Labourer, and Sarah married in 1910 and moved to Toowoomba, QLD where George enlisted in the AIF in 1916 - he served only for three months, stating that he enlisted only because his two brothers criticised him for not enlisting, Sarah opposed his enlistment on the grounds that she was left in poverty, with poor health and two children to raise. 

Willie's older brothers - John Lewis served as a Private (Service No: Q45922) with the AASC - and George Frederic served with the ACMF (Service No: Q271178). Brothers in Law - David William Nethercote (Service No: QX12787) and Michael Frawley (Service Nos:Q14699/Q104978/QX37306) - also served in WWII

Willie served on HAMS Cerberus, HMAS Penguin and HMAS Anking as an Ordinary Seaman in the RAN. He was on board the HMAS Anking in the Indian Ocean when it was sunk by Japanese cruisers.