William Moffat McLachlan MM

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William Moffat McLachlan MM
McLachlan William Moffat.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth not known 1896
Place of Birth Ballarat, Victoria
Death 25 Aug 1967, aged 71
Place of Death Perth, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 19 years, 8 months
Description 5'11" (1.80m) tall ; 139 lbs
63.049 kg
; dark complexion ; grey eyes ; black hair
Occupation Mill hand
Religion Methodist
Address Jarrahdale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr James McLachlan
Military Information
Reg Number 143
Date of Enlistment 12 Jan 1916
Rank Lance Sergeant
Unit/Formation 44th Battalion, A Company / 11th Brigade, 3rd Division
Date of Embarkation 6 Jun 1916 ‒ 21 Jul 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A29 Suevic
Date of Return 19 Jun 1919 ‒ 7 Aug 1919
Ship Returned On SS Windhuk
Fate Wounded in Action 8 Jun 1917 (gassed) at Messines
Returned to Australia
Monument Jarrahdale Honour Roll
ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
Medals Military Medal
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

War Service

Soon after entering camp, Bill was allocated to the 44th Battalion's 'A' Company and travelled with them to England aboard HMAT A29 Suevic, disembarking in England on 21 Jul 1916. On 25 Nov 1916 he proceeded overseas from England to France, and soon after required a spell in hospital with bronchitis from 15 - 18 Dec 1916. Also in hospital from 13 - 28 Apr 1917 this time with tonsillitis, before being wounded in action on 8 Jun 1917.

Bill was one of many who were put out of action by the German use of gas shells, and it would appear to have happened as the battalion which had been held in reserve moved forward to secure the enemy trenches between the Douve River and 'Huns Wald' on Messine Ridge. While casualties were light in achieving the target, they later sustained a great many casualties (300+) holding on to their gains, primarily from both enemy and friendly artillery fire. Treated first by the 9th Field Ambulance, he was passed to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station before entering the 11th Stationary Hospital in Rouen on 9 Jun 1917. 10 days later he was released to the 2nd Convalescent Depot, and a week later he was shifted to the 11th Convalescent Depot.

Bill was able to rejoin the 44th Battalion on 8 Sep 1917, but along the way ran foul of Military Law. On 4 Sep 1917 he was charged with 'Crime - At Rouelles on 3 Sep 1917, when on active service, conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in that he insisted on smoking on parade while orders were being read, after being duly warned by the Company Sergeant Major not to do so.' For this he forfeited 2 days pay. Back with his unit, on 21 Sep 1917 he was appointed Lance Corporal, and on 7 Oct 1917 he was promoted Temporary Corporal until 9 Dec 1917 when a permanent Corporal rejoined the unit. In the A.I.F. Routine Orders List 292 published on 28 Jan 1918, Bill was awarded a Military Medal.

He acted as Corporal again from 1 Apr 1918 till 29 May 1918, and yet again from 16 Jul 1918, this time his rank was confirmed on 8 Oct 1918. Two days later he was promoted Temporary Sergeant. He was granted leave to England between 1 Jan 1919 and 16 Jan 1919, and in April he returned to England to begin the homeward journey. He boarded SS Windhuk on 19 Jun 1919 and disembarked in Fremantle on 7 Aug 1919. Bill was discharged by the 5th Military District on 22 Sep 1919.

Award Comment

In January 1918 William was awarded the Military Medal (AWM site does not include recommendation or citation) [1][2]

Post War

In 1923 William married Gertrude Ann Kelly, registered in the Blackwood district. Gertrude died 10 Jul 1969, aged 62 in Perth. Electoral Roll entries - 1925 - 1943 State Saw Mill Pemberton, mill hand; 1931 joined by Gertrude Ann; 1949 - 1963 at 175 Lake street, North Perth timber worker;

William also served during WW2 as W27692 from 30 Apr 1941 until 12 Mar 1947. Served with 5th and 10th Garrison Battalions before transferring to the Australia Cinema Unit.


Local press published Casualty Lists [3], but also individual references; Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Mclachlan, of Jarrahdale and 24 Galwey-street, Leederville, have been notified that their son, Private William Moffat McLachlan, has been wounded [4]

  1. London Gazette 28 Jan 1918 page 1403 position 143
  2. Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 27 Jun 1918 page 1390 position 162
  3. "AUSTRALIANS IN ACTION". Kalgoorlie Miner. 23, (5770). Western Australia. 11 July 1917. p. 2. Retrieved 12 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. "WAR CASUALTIES.". The West Australian. XXXIII, (4,758). Western Australia. 3 July 1917. p. 5. Retrieved 12 October 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 

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