William Thomas CANNAN

CANNAN, William Thomas

Service Numbers: 2040, 2040a
Enlisted: 17 July 1916
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 43rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Parkside, South Australia, Australia, March 1898
Home Town: Plympton, City of West Torrens, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farm Labourer
Died: 5 February 1974, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: North Brighton Cemetery, S.A.
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

17 Jul 1916: Enlisted Australian Army, Private, SN 2040, 43rd Infantry Battalion
28 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2040, 43rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT A68 Anchises
5 Oct 1917: Wounded SN 2040a, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Broodseinde Ridge
26 May 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2040, 43rd Infantry Battalion, Gassed

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Biography contributed by St Aloysius College

William Thomas Cannan was born in Parkside, South Australia during the year 1898 (exact date is unknown). Before the outbreak of World War I, William worked as a farm labourer. He lived in Plympton on Bay Road with his mother. His war records show that he was single at the age of eighteen and his next of kin was his mother, Mrs Angelina Cannan. William’s religion was as a Baptist. According to his enlistment records, William had a medium skin complexion with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. As well as his mother, he also lived with his father, Mr J. W. Cannan. This information is present in a letter addressed to his father at the same address.

In July 1916, William Cannan enlisted with the 43rd Infantry Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement as a Private in Adelaide, South Australia. He was 18 years and 4 months when he enlisted. William was 5 feet and 7½ inches tall, with a weight of 131 lbs (approx. 60kg). His measured chest size was 31½ - 34½ inches. He was declared to be short sighted, scoring a six of nine in both eyes. He had had no past vaccinations. He embarked from Adelaide to Plymouth aboard the   N.M. A.68 “Anchises” ship.

On August 28th 1916, Cannan departed Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship N.M A.68. On October 11th 1916, soldiers disembarked the ship in Plymouth, United Kingdom.

On October 13th 1916, he marched out to his unit from the 11th infantry battalion in England.

On October 25th 1916, William was admitted to the group hospital sick, in England.

After recovery, he proceeded overseas to France aboard the S.S. Golden Eagle from Folkestone on February 2nd 1917. He was taken on strength (deemed fit enough) and returned to the 43rd infantry Battalion where he was in the field. He was used in the 3rd Australian Bas Depot (4th Reinforcements) in Etaples on March 3rd 1917.

On March 4th 1917, he was reallotted a new regimental number, changing from 2040 to 2040A.

Private W.T Cannan was admitted to the hospital sick in France after contracting French Fever on July 2nd 1917. He spent twelve days in hospital. He recovered and re-joined his unit from hospital in France on July 14th 1917.

On October 5th 1917, Cannan was wounded in action after being gassed at Broodeseinde Ridge. He was admitted to a hospital after it was clear that he wasn’t getting any better. He arrived at St Omer Hospital on October 23rd 1917. William also presented the injury of a bruised back. He re-joined unit from hospital in France on November 5th 1917. He marched out to his unit in Roulles, France on November 15th 1917.

On May 26th 1918, William was wounded in action after being gassed on a 2nd occasion in France. He returned to duty again on July 3rd 1918.

He was admitted to hospital sick from the Field Infantry unit on July 13th 1918. The hospital Cannan was admitted to was on the Line of Communication.

He re-joined his unit, 43rd Battalion, on August 28th 1918.

On 22nd of September William committed a crime. By being absent from a parade in France.

On the 28th of September, he received an penalty of two days’ pay. Cannan was appointed a Lance Corporal on the 15th of October 1918.

On November 1st he departed for Paris on leave. On November 10th he re-joined the 43rd Battalion.

On the 12th of June 1919, William Thomas Cannan Returned to Australia (from England) aboard the ship ‘Themistocles’.

William has been awarded one British War Medal and one Victory Medal. His personal life after the war is unclear. This is because, through all his war documents, there were no letters to show a romantically involved relationship or otherwise. There is no information regarding when he died. He is buried in North Brighton Cemetery, SA, Australia.

Lest We Forget.

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