William John (Bill) Hart

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William John Hart
Hart William 1.jpg
Hart William Local Defence 1943.jpg
Bill Hart holding a Thompson Submachine gun, in Volunteer Defence Corps uniform, 1943 BLSL FPHC Hart
Personal Information
Date of Birth 17 Jan 1890
Place of Birth Leicestershire, England
Death 24 Nov 1974, aged 94
Place of Death Roleystone, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 24 years, 9 months
Description 5'7¼" (1.71m) tall; weight 168 lbs (76.2 kg); fair complexion, fair hair
Occupation miner
Religion Church of England
Address Leonora, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife Mrs. Lina Ross Hart (nee Wearn, 1891-1989)
Military Information
Reg Number 656 & W67622
Date of Enlistment 23 Sep 1914
Rank Sergeant
Unit/Formation D Company, 16th Battalion, / 4th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 22 Dec 1914 - 1 Feb 1915
Ship Embarked On HMAT A40 Ceramic
Date of Return 11 Jan 1919 - 17 Feb 1919
Ship Returned On SS Osterley
Fate Wounded in Action 3 May 1915 at Gabe Tepe, Gallipoli
Wounded in Action 7 Aug 1915 at Hill 971, Gallipoli
Wounded in Action 30 Aug 1916 at Mouquet Farm
Returned to Australia
Monument Roleystone Roll of Honour
Medals 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

William had 12 months previous service with the Leicestershire Yeomanry before emigrating to Australia in 1912 where he worked in various mines in Western Australia prior to his enlistment.

WW 1 Service

Enlisted in Leonora and sent to Blackboy Hill camp. As an original member of the 16th Battalion he commenced his training at Blackboy Hill camp, but on 21 Nov 1914 they entrained in Midland for Fremantle where they boarded two small ships (SS Indarra and SS Dimboola) for Melbourne in order to complete their Australian training at the Broadmeadows camp, joining up with South Australians who contributed 50% of the combined unit. On 22 Dec 1914 they boarded HMAT A40 Ceramic in Port Melbourne and sailed for Albany where they joined with 15 other transports to form the second Convoy. Having left Albany on 30 Dec 1914, they arrived off Alexandria on 1 Feb 1915. Once ashore they were transported to the Heliopolis camp on Cairo's outskirts. Following a period of training in the shadows of the pyramids, The 16th sailed from Alexandria for Lemnos Island on 11 Apr 1915 aboard HMT Haida Pascha, and at noon on 25 Apr 1915 they set out for Anzac Cove where they landed in the early evening.

William participated in early fighting and on 3 May at Gabe Tepe he received wounds to the upper extremities of his right thigh. Taken offshore to SS Dongola on 3 May 1915, where it was decided to keep him there rather than sending him on to Lemnos as his wound was healing quickly. Back ashore on 19 May 1915 he rejoined the 16th until he was again wounded on 7 Aug 1915 as part of an attack on Hill 971, this time with shell wounds to the left thigh and both shoulders. His injury required him to be evacuated to Egypt on HMAT A11 Ascanius where he entered the 2nd Australian Convalescent Depot in Heliopolis before a transfer to Zeitoun. On 18 Oct 1915 he embarked again, this time on HMT Kalyan for Lemnos to rejoin his unit on 23 Oct 1915. On arrival he found that he had been promoted Corporal in his absence (9 Aug 1915). Bill, now part of 'B' Company was evacuated from Gallipoli to Mudross West on 20 Dec 1915 as part of the third and last group to leave that evening. The battalion left Mudross harbour for Alexandria on 26 Dec 1915 aboard HMT Ascania, now acting as a troop ship. Disembarking on 29 Dec 1915 he was admitted to hospital in Ismailia with jaundice later that day and was unable to resume duty until 27 Jan 1916 when he set out to rejoin the 16th Battalion at Zeitoun. He was promoted Sergeant on 22 Mar 1916, and on 1 Jun 1916 he, along with all others in his unit, became members of the British Expeditionary Force to serve on the Western Front.

William was involved in the fight around Pozieres and Mouquet Farm, on 30 Aug 1916. Just as they were about to be relieved, Bill received a gunshot wound to his shoulder. Treated by the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station where he was placed aboard Ambulance Train No 28 the same day for the 2nd Australian General Hospital in Boulogne. Admitted on 1 Sep 1916 before being evacuated to England aboard HS Jan Breydel later the same day. In England he was admitted to a hospital in Ramsgate on 1 September before transferring to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford where he remained receiving treatment from 20 Oct 1916 until 2 Jan 1917 when he was released for a period of furlough. During his leave he married Lina Ross Wearn. On his return from leave he entered the No. 1 Command Depot, and remained with them until 1 Jul 1917 when he attended the School of Instruction at Aldershot. Following his course, he was retained as an instructor until he was posted to the No. 1 Command Depot on 26 Feb 1918. On 26 Apr 1918 he was sent to the Overseas Training Brigade before returning to France through Folkestone on 30 May 1918. Bill rejoined the 16th Battalion on 7 Jun 1918 in the line in front of Corbie.

On 3 Oct 1918 as a 1914 enlistee he was granted 75 days furlough in the UK in lieu of a return to Australia. Bill was offered a late December ship home, but left the UK on 11 Jan 1919 aboard SS Osterley. Back in Australia, he was discharged on 10 Mar 1919 at the 5th Military District in Karrakatta.

Between the wars

Electoral Roll entries from 1925 - 1943 list William as an orchardist in Roleystone, although he worked briefly post-war at Simpson's Mine at Eastern Creek via Nullagine.

Post-war, Lina came to Australia from Leicester to join William and the couple bought land on Urch Road in 1919, at first 8 acres, but later 38 acres, which they named 'Leicester Orchard'. In the 1950s they moved to a property on Barnes Road. His apparent residual injuries from the war were a fine miniature shiny piece of shell splinter in the dead centre pupil of his dominant eye which precluded him from driving, shrapnel scars across his back which caused a period of paralysis, a raspy voice and a characteristic cough, the effects of German mustard gas.

WW2 Service

William served with the Militia from 22 Mar 1942 until 15 Oct 1945 during WW2. On 31 Jul 1942 he was appointed as Group Leader (Lieutenant) of the 12th (Jarrah) VDC Battalion (which Ivor Birtwistle also served with). Between 1 and 22 May 1943 he attended a Company Commanders Course run by 3rd Australian Corps School at Harvey. His appointment was terminated on 15 Oct 1945 and he was placed on the Retired List the next day.

Son William John 'Jack' Hart (b. 1923 d. 3 Nov 2005) and daughters Helen (Nell) and Margaret (Peg) each served in the RAAF during WW2.

Post ww2

Electoral roll entries: 1949 - 1972 list William as an orchardist in Roleystone. On 2 May 1967 he wrote to the Central Army Records Office requesting issue of a Gallipoli Medallion and lapel badge.


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