From Our Contribution
The Drill of the Foot-Hills Birtwistle collection
|Date of Birth||
"unknown" contains an extrinsic dash or other characters that are invalid for a date interpretation.
|Place of Birth||Omeo, Gippsland, Victoria|
|Death||31 Oct 1975, aged 82|
|Place of Death||Boyanup, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||21 years, 9 months|
5' 9" (1.75m) tall ; 147 lbs|
66.678 kg; fair complexion ; green eyes ; auburn hair
|Occupation||Assistant Station Master|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Beenup, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Father , Mr A. C. Stephens|
|Date of Enlistment||10 Sep 1914|
|Unit/Formation||12th Battalion H Compnay (later D Company) / 3rd Brigade, 1st Division|
|Date of Embarkation||2 Nov 1914 ‒ 3 Dec 1914|
|Ship Embarked On||HMAT A7 Medic|
|Date of Return||13 Feb 1917 ‒ 6 Apr 1917|
|Ship Returned On||HMAT A38 Ulysses|
Wounded in Action 22/25 Aug 1915 Gallipoli |
Wounded in Action 21 Aug 1916 Mouquet Farm
Returned to Australia
Armadale War Memorial (Beenup panel) |
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
1914-15 Star |
British War Medal
Daily News Sun 20 Jun 1915 reports that Bill was the Assistant Station Master at Beenup at the time of his enlistment.
An original member of the 12th Battalion.
At some point between his battalion landing (4am on the 26th) and the 28th of Apr 1915, Bill was Wounded in Action at Anzac Cove. He suffered a severe gunshot wound to his right leg, requiring his eventual evacuation on HMHS Mustapha on 7 May 1915. He was able to rejoin the Battalion on 13 Jun 1915, and remained at ANZAC until the evacuation.
With the rest of his unit he was shipped back to Egypt on the HMT Lake Michigan, disembarking in Alexandria on 6 Jan 1916. Bill was promoted to Lance Corporal at Serapeum on 18 Mar 1916. In addition to undertaking training courses, he also suffered mild pleurisy in Egypt before his unit shipped from Alexandria to Marseilles on 29 March aboard the HMT Corsican, arriving in Marseilles on 5 Apr 1916.
On arrival they are transported by train to St Omer. The 144th Casualty List published in Australia listed Stephens as being ill (mumps), having been admitted to the 7th General Hospital from 11 May 1916 to 1 Jun 1916.
Bill was promoted Corporal on 6 Jul 1916 and Sergeant on 5 Aug 1916. On the 21st Aug 1916 at Mouquet Farm, 'A' and 'D' Companies attacked the German front line, capturing a length of trench and suffered casualties while holding it against enemy rifle, machine gun and artillery fire. The casualties after three days in the line were 45 KIA, 41 MIA, and 137 WIA of whom Bill was one. His was a second close call, with a shrapnel wound (fractured scapula) to his right knee.
Seen by the 44th Casualty Clearing Station he was placed on Ambulance Train No. 15 for Étaples where he was admitted to a hospital run by the St Johns Ambulance Brigade. After being treated by them from 21 - 29 Aug 1916, Bill was evacuated from Calais in France on the HMHS Brighton to Brighton in England.
Admitted to the Edmonton Military Hospital with a fractured knee cap, on 6 Sep 1916 he was transferred to the VAD Hospital in Eastcote before transferring to the 2nd Australian Auxiliary Hospital from 8 - 14 Nov 1916. The 369th Casualty List published in Australian papers on 13 Dec 1917 listed W. Stephens as being wounded.
When recovered, Bill was posted to No 2 Command Depot at Weymouth for return to Australia for 5 months recovery. On arrival in Australia it was decided to discharge him instead. His application for pension was rejected as the authorities deemed he had no incapacity. Bill was discharged by the 5th Military District on 27 Apr 1917.
Married Lila Victoria Carter 9 Apr 1919 in North Perth. Lila died 14 Nov 1978.
Electoral Roll entries - 1925 - 1968 Boyanup, farmer; 1972 South West Highway, Picton, retired; 1977 Lila by herself in Picton.
29 Mar 1967 Bill applies for the Anzac Medal, giving his address as Boyanup. His claim for a pension is rejected as having no disability.
Enlisted during WW2 under no W70115 with the Citizen Military Forces.