William Leonard Edward (Billie or Bill) DANSWAN

DANSWAN, William Leonard Edward

Service Number: 20548
Enlisted: 9 November 1934, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Able Seaman
Last Unit: HMAS Torrens (Depot) / HMAS Encounter (Shore)
Born: Temora, New South Wales, Australia, 16 March 1918
Home Town: Junee, Junee, New South Wales
Schooling: Junee Intermediate High School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Naval serviceman
Died: Accidental (mine explosion), Beachport, South Australia, 14 July 1941, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Junee Cemetery, New South Wales, Australia
Junee Monumental; Church of England; Plot. C, Grave 18.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Beachport Naval Mine Memorial
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Non Warlike Service

9 Nov 1934: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Ordinary Seaman, 20548, HMAS Cerberus (Shore), Sydney, New South Wales

World War 2 Service

19 Nov 1934: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, 20548
3 Sep 1939: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, 20548, HMAS Canberra (I)
4 Apr 1941: Transferred Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, HMAS Torrens (Depot) / HMAS Encounter (Shore)
14 Jul 1941: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, 20548, HMAS Torrens (Depot) / HMAS Encounter (Shore), Homeland Defence - Militia and non deployed forces

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

"...Able Seaman W. L. E. Danswan who was killed with another rating when a mine exploded on the beach at Beachport, South Australia on 14 Jul 1941. AB Danswan was with HMAS Canberra from 1935 to Feb 1941 and was attached to HMAS Torrens when he died, as part of a RMS (rendering mines safe) party from the Port Adelaide Depot..." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)


There was a large attendance at St. Luke's Anglican Church on Sunday evening, when a memorial service was held for William Danswan, of the Royal Australian Navy, who was killed with another comrade when an enemy mine that had broken loose and come ashore in South Australian waters prematurely exploded: and Basil Brock of the A. I. F., who was killed in Syria. The widow and relatives of Danswan and the relatives of Brock were present. The Rev. H. Staples conducted the service, during which the "Last Post'' and "Reveille" were sounded by Mr. Carthew. Members of the Returned Soldiers' League were present, and wreaths were placed on the altar by the Red Cross, Returned, Soldiers' League, Church Women's Union, Young Anglican Asosciation, and others. After the service the wreaths were placed at the Soldiers' Memorial in Broadway."from the Cootamundra Herald 13 Aug 1941 (nla.gov.au) 

PA439 AB Thomas William Todd (/explore/people/503768) was also killed in the explosion



Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

William married Margaret DEAN in Sydney in 1939 - one child, name unknown



The body of William Danswan of Junee and formerly of the Royal Australian Navy, who lost his life early in the war when a mine exploded after being washed ashore, is to be exhumed at the Mount Gambier Cemetery (South Australia) & brought to Junee where a military funeral will be held

Mr Danswan who was a son of Mr. & Mrs. Danswan of Bolton St Junee left the Navy after two years service owing to eye sight trouble

He was then allotted the task of guarding the foreshores and destroying floating mines that might drift ashore.  Danswan and a companion were killed when such a mine exploded while being removed


Biography contributed by Geoffrey Danswan

William married Margaret DEAN in Sydney in 1939 and had a daughter, Gloria 15th March 1941.