William Dobson Stevens

From Our Contribution

William Dobson Stevens
Personal Information
Date of Birth 5 May 1877
Place of Birth Cannington, Western Australia
Death 8 Dec 1940, aged 53
Place of Death Harvey, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 38 years, 3 months
Description 5' 11" (1.80m) tall ; 152 lbs
68.946 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; fair hair ; scar right side of back.
Occupation Sleeper cutter
Religion Church of England
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Ellen Margaret Robinson Stevens
Military Information
Reg Number 4002
Date of Enlistment 2 Aug 1915
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 16th Battalion, 12th Reinforcement transferred to 48th Battalion / 12th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 22 Dec 1915 ‒ unknown Port Suez
"unknown Port Suez" contains an extrinsic dash or other characters that are invalid for a date interpretation.
Ship Embarked On HMAT A31 Ajana
Date of Return 15 Feb 1918 ‒ 6 Apr 1918
Ship Returned On HMHS Llanstephan Castle
Fate Wounded in Action 12 Oct 1917 at Passchendaele Ridge
Returned to Australia
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Bedfordale panel)
Bedfordale Roll of Honour
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

On 27 Mar 1913 he married Helen Marguerite Robertson Livingston who was born in 1892, and died 1968, aged 76. Sons Stanley Dobson (11 Jun 1914 - 24 Apr 1939); and William Dobson (1 Apr 1916- 1963).

War Service

Entered the Blackboy Hill camp on 23 Aug 1915, but not allocated to 12th reinforcement draft for the 16th Battalion until 16 Oct 1915. In Egypt he entered the 4th Australian Auxiliary Hospital Abbassia with mumps from 31 Jan to 14 Mar 1916, and on recovery found that he had been transferred on 9 Mar 1916 to the newly formed 48th Battalion at Serapeum.

Embarked in Alexandria for England on 6 Jun 1916 where he joined the 12th Training Battalion at Camp No 11, Rollestone. Embarked for France on 4 Sep 1916 and was taken on strength of the 48th Battalion on 25 Nov 1916 in the front line trenches full of mud and water at Flers.

In the early morning of 12 Oct 1917 the 48th Battalion with others including the 47th Battalion attacked the Passchendaele Ridge in very heavy conditions due to steady rain. Of the 621 men who were in the attack, 375 were killed, wounded or missing at the end of the day and they were driven out of their objectives by strong counter attacks. Back to their start point, they were required to hold here against enemy action for another day until relieved.

William is recorded as having been wounded on 13 Oct 1917. Seen by the 3rd Field Ambulance who sent him on to the 14th Stationary Hospital in Boulogne on 13 Oct 1917 before being evacuated to England through Boulogne on the 17th with a shell wound to his left ankle. On arrival in the UK he was admitted to the Edmonton Military Hospital. William tells medical staff in No 3 Command Depot at Hurdcott in Jan 1918 that he was hit in the left foot by a piece of enemy shrapnel while he was in a shell hole on the battlefield. He also confesses to being 47 years old. Released from the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital (26 Oct 1917 - 26 Nov 1917), he was assessed in Hurdcott where it is decided to send him home. He embarked at Plymouth on the HMHS Llanstephan Castle on 17 Feb 1918 for Australia. William was discharged by the 5th Military District on 3 May 1918.

"...Sailed to Egypt with the 12th Reinforcements of the 16th Battalion on the 22nd December 1915. Now serving in France with the 48th Battalion."[1]

Post War

Children born following Bill's return from Europe were: Marguerite Isabella (1919-2002); Hilda Elizabeth (1921 - 1921); Gladys Rose (1922-1979); Malcolm (John) (1924-1979);Jean Daphne (1926-1960); Olive Frances (1928-1997); David James (1932-2011); and Peter Thomas (1936-1990). Bill's sister Annie married Edward Bailey.

Electoral Roll entries - 1925 a labourer living in Seventh road, Armadale.

Death Notice "Stevens, William Dobson, suddenly on December 8 at Harvey; late 48th Battalion, A.I.F,. and member Armadale R.S.L.[2] Funeral notice advises that he was still living in Seventh road at the time of his death in Harvey.


  1. "The Drill of the Foot-Hills" (PDF) (1917). Western Australia. Mar 1917. p. 9. Retrieved 16 May 2017 – via State Library of Western Australia. 
  2. "A Digger's Diary (Conducted by "Non-Com.") THE FRONT LINE.". Western Mail. 55, (2,859). Western Australia. 19 December 1940. p. 2. Retrieved 25 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 

External Links