William Alexander WILSON


WILSON, William Alexander

Service Number: NX155439
Enlisted: 18 September 1941, Coonabarabran, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/5th Infantry Battalion
Born: Coonabarabran, New South Wales, 23 January 1921
Home Town: Coonabarabran, Warrumbungle Shire, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Killed in Action, New Guinea, 3 August 1945, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Lae War Cemetery
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

18 Sep 1941: Enlisted 2nd AIF WW 2, Private, SN NX155439, Coonabarabran, New South Wales
3 Aug 1945: Involvement 2nd AIF WW 2, Private, SN NX155439, 2nd/5th Infantry Battalion , Aitape - Wewak, New Guinea

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William (Bill) Wilson was the second youngest child of eight children born to John Alexander and Alice Edith Wilson of Coonabarabran NSW and at the time of his death, husband to Norma Wilson (nee Gardiner).

His platoon was under the command of Sergeant Frank McNally and it was near a tiny little village called Argelum in New Guinea supported by heavy artillery fire, that they came upon a Japanese machine gun. The Aussies galvanised into action, with the Sergeant stitching everything in his path with his Owen gun supported by Bill Wilson and the rest of the platoon. It was all over in a few terrifying seconds. Sadly their victory was short lived as a Japanese sniper off to their left opened fire and Bill Wilson fell to the ground fatally wounded.

Sergeant McNally knew the Owen gun wasn’t accurate enough, and as everyone went flat, heads down, he reached out for Bill’s rifle and chanced a look. All he could see was the top of the sniper’s cap and the tip of the rifle barrel aiming down on them again. The Sergeant took aim and fired, subsequently being assured of his success by the noise of the sniper’s body as it rolled sideways and crashed into the undergrowth below.

The captured Japanese “Woodpecker gun” was sent to Coonabarabran, NSW after the war by Sergeant McNally in memory of William (Bill) Wilson and is still displayed today at the Coonabarabran Memorial Swimming Pool along with the story of its capture.

Private William (Bill) Wilson is buried in Grave MMC-13 in the Lae War Cemetery, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea