Richard John Williams

From Our Contribution

Richard John Williams
Williams Richard John.jpg
Courtesy Marg Boardley
Williams Richard John 1.jpg
Richard on right. Courtesy Marg Boardley
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1892
Place of Birth Kadina, South Australia
Death 25 Jul 1916
Place of Death Pozières, France
Age at Enlistment 22 years, 7 months
Description 5'7" (1.70m) tall ; 150lbs
68.039 kg
; dark complexion ; blue eyes ; dark brown hair
Occupation Butcher
Religion Methodist
Address Wheatley street, Gosnells, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr James Williams
Military Information
Reg Number 4315
Date of Enlistment 15 Sep 1915
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 11th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
Date of Embarkation 17 Jan 1916 ‒ 9 Feb 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A30 Borda Fremantle to Suez
Fate KIA 25 Jul 1916 at Pozières
Monument Gosnells War Memorial
Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Gosnells Primary School Honour Roll
Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
Australian War Memorial
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

War Service

Richard entered Blackboy Hill camp on 14 Sep 1915 and began his training with the 29th Depot Company. On 9 Nov 1915 he was allocated to the 13th reinforcement draft for the 11th Battalion and completed his preliminary training with them before travelling to Egypt. Disembarking at Suez, Richard was first sent to the 3rd Training Battalion, and after some six weeks additional training, boarded HMT Transylvania on 29 Mar 1916 for Marseilles in southern France where he disembarked on 4 Apr 1916. Sent to the 1st Division's Base Depot in Étaples, he was held there until he could join the 11th Battalion on 25 May 1916 along with 2 officers and 65 other ranks. On that day the battalion was heavily shelled, primarily with high explosive shells, causing 2 men to be wounded.

During the evening of 19 Jul 1916 the 11th Battalion moved into the front lines opposite Pozières tasked with attacking and capturing the town over the next few days. having only just arrived in the front lines there was much anxiety about them not being prepared and in the end the attack was delayed for a day or two, not that it made any difference to the outcome. At 12:30am on 23 Jul 1917 the 11th Battalion with 'A' and 'B' Companies leading, left the sanctuary of their trenches and followed the creeping artillery barrage. While they had captured their objectives and some extra ground, the majority of their officers and senior NCOs were by now casualties. However, those that remained were able to see off a counter attack, before they had to endure an enemy bombardment that lasted all day on the 24th. Although they had dug themselves in, the ferocity of the bombardment was such that many casualties resulted from direct hits while many near misses buried the troops alive. Some were dug out by their mates.

Early on the morning of 25 Jul 1916 they were busy repelling another counter attack when it was realised that the troops they were shooting at were not Germans, but the Australian 8th Battalion, 17 of whom had been killed. During the day of the 25th the German artillery intensified their bombardment, and continued it at a furious, unbroken rate all day until after 6:30pm that night. It was during this period that Richard was killed.

  • Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
  • Section of 11th Battalion panels

Richards Red Cross File held in the Australian War Memorial contains several accounts of his death:

"He belonged to 4 Platoon, A Company as I did, and was killed at Pozières on July 25th, - blown up by a shell and killed outright. I was not in this action, But Pte. D. Jolly, 4 Platoon, A Company, was and saw the casualty. Williams was my mate and I made enquiries about him. Jolly is a dependable fellow, and I think his evidence is correct. Williams comes from Gosnells, West Aus." 4296 Pte F.S. Snow "Informant states that Williams was blown to pieces at Pozières. Eye witness: Yes" 3029 Pte A.E.Clarke

A Court of Enquiry held on 20 Jun 1917 (11 months after his death) declared that he had been killed in action on 25 Jul 1916.

Richard's father James received a pension after his death, increasing to 35/- per fortnight from 29 Mar 1917.


External Links