William Henry GRIFFITHS

Per his military service record (regimental no. 5089), William Henry Griffiths was born at Waterloo Flat, Victoria. He gave his age as 33 years and 2 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as engine driver. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 7 inches tall, weight 9 stone 10 lbs., with a fair complexion, hazel eyes, and auburn (dark) hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic. He claimed that he had no previous military service.

William Griffiths was named in an article titled ‘Blayney recruits’ in the Leader as one of six men who have joined ‘as a result of the visit of the Coo-ees to Blayney’.[1] The Coo-ees had held a recruiting meeting and stayed overnight at Blayney on 26th October 1915.

He completed his medical examination at Orange on 1st November 1915, and was attested at at Orange on the same day.

After the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On 18th February 1916 he was charged with being absent without leave for two days, and he was fined ten shillings. On 21st February 1916 he was charged with being absent from parade, and he was fined five shillings.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was 2 Hambleton Street, Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria, and his next of kin was listed as his father, E. R. Griffiths, at the same address.

An initial Regimental No. 4784 is crossed out on his Attestation Paper, and replaced with 5089. Private Griffiths departed Sydney on the HMAT A16 Star of Victoria A16 on 31st March 1916 with two other Coo-ees, as 16th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion. He arrived in Egypt on the 8th May 1916.

On 7th June 1916 Private Griffiths left Alexandria aboard a transport ship bound for France, and he arrived at Marseilles on 14th June 1916.

He was sent to the 4th Division Base Depot at Etaples, France. He marched in and was taken on strength of the 13th Battalion on 21st July 1916, when it was training at Naours, France.

On 21st August 1916 Private Griffiths was sent to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital at Boulogne, France, suffering Nephrites.

On 25th August 1916 he was evacuated to England aboard the Hospital Ship Brighton. Later that day he was admitted to the Guildford War Hospital at Guildford, England.

On 20th November 1916 he was transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield, England. On 2nd December 1916 he was discharged from Hospital, and sent to the Number 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England.

On 2nd January 1917 Private Griffiths was sent to the Infantry Drafting Depot at Pernham Downs, England. On 22nd July 1917 he departed Southampton, bound for France. He arrived at the 4th Australian Division Base Depot on 24th July 1917. He departed the 4th Australian Division Base Depot on the 9th of August 1917, and rejoined the 13th Battalion on 11th August 1917, when it was conducting working parties in the vicinity of Neuve Eglise, Belgium.

On 25th September 1917 the 13th Battalion was manning the front line trenches in the vicinity of Westhoek, Belgium, when Private Griffiths was wounded in action, receiving a shrapnel wound to his chest. He was moved back to the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance. On 27th September 1917 he was moved to the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, where he was placed aboard the 24th Ambulance Train, and moved to the 7th Canadian General Hospital at Etaples, France.

On 10th October 1917 he was placed aboard the hospital Ship Lille De Liege and evacuated to England. He was admitted to the Royal Surrey War Hospital at Guildford in England later that day.

Private Griffiths was discharged from hospital on 29th November 1917, and granted leave to report to the Number 1 Command Depot at Sutton Veny on the 13th of December 1917.

On 18th January 1918 Private Griffiths was admitted to the Sutton Veny Military Hospital, suffering Bronchitis. He was discharged and sent back to the Number 1 Command Depot on 12th February 1918.

On 16th March 1918 Private Griffiths was transferred to the Australian Motor Transport Service as a cleaner.

His service record includes a certified extract of a marriage certificate for a marriage on 21st August 1918 between William Henry Griffiths (soldier) and Kathleen Spires at Christ Church, Chelsea, England.

On 31st January 1919 Private Griffiths marched into the Number 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England, to commence his return to Australia. On 5th February 1919 he was transferred to the Number 1 Command Depot at Sutton Veny, England.

Private Griffiths departed England on 2nd April 1919 for return to Australia with his wife, aboard the H.T. Benalla. He arrived in Australia on 5th May 1919.

He was discharged medically unfit on 15th November 1919.

[1] ‘Blayney recruits’, Leader, 29 October 1915, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article117842821

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