Joseph William EDWARDS

Joseph William EDWARDS

Per his initial military service record (Depot), Joseph William Edwards was born at Marsden [near Forbes], N.S.W.  He signed his name as William Edwards.  He gave his age as 21 years and 5 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as general labourer.  His description on his Certificate of medical examination was height 5 feet 9 inches tall, weight 186 lbs, with a medium complexion, brown eyes, and black hair.  His religious denomination was Roman Catholic.  His next of kin on his initial Attestation paper was his father, Joseph Benjamin Edwards, Gilgandra, N.S.W.  He completed his medical examination at Molong on 22nd October 1915, and was attested by Captain Nicholas at ‘Molong (8 miles east)’, along with several other Coo-ees, on 22nd October 1915.  He claimed to have no previous military experience.

‘W. Edwards’ was named as one of six men who joined the Coo-ees ‘on the road from Wellington’ in the Molong Express and Western District Advertiser.[1]

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

Per his Detailed Medical History of an Invalid form dated 10th January 1916, he enlisted at Wellington, so it appears he first presented to join the Coo-ees when they were recruiting at Wellington.  This form recorded that on 4th January 1916 Private J. W. Edwards was at the Liverpool Railway Station when he jumped off a train on the wrong side and fell, and he suffered a hernia to his left oblique.  He was recommended to have an operation, however he declined.  The Medical Board subsequently found him unfit for military service, and recommended his discharge.

Private Edwards was discharged medically unfit on 15th January 1916.

Joseph William Edwards re-enlisted in the A.I.F. on 27th April 1916 at Dubbo, N.S.W., and he was appointed to Dubbo Depot Battalion.

He was transferred from Dubbo Depot Battalion to Invalids Section A.I.F. Victoria Barracks Sydney N.S.W. from 26th May 1916 to 9th August 1916.

He was transferred from Dubbo Depot Battalion to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 3rd Battalion on 20th September 1916.

On Private Edward’s embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Wellington, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his father, J. B. Edwards, P.O., Wellington, N.S.W.

Private Edwards (regimental no. 6744) departed Sydney on the SS Port Nicholson on 8th November 1916 with the 22nd reinforcements for the 3rd Battalion.  He arrived at Devonport, England on 10th January 1917.

He was sent to the 1st Training Battalion at Larkhill, England.

On 10th April 1917 Private Edwards proceeded overseas to France from Folkestone, England.

On 30th April 1917 he marched out to his unit from the Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples.

On 2nd May 1917 Private Edwards was taken on strength of the 3rd Battalion when it was manning the front line in the vicinity of Vaulx, France.

On 13th May 1917 Private Edwards was sent to hospital sick.  He rejoined the Battalion on 29th May 1917.

On 10th July 1917, the 3rd Battalion was conducting ‘recreational training and bomb throwing competitions’ at Buire, France, when 13 men in the Battalion were accidentally wounded by a bomb explosion.[2]  Private Edwards received a severe bomb wound to his back and left hand, and was transported by the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance to the 56th Casualty Clearing Station.  On 23rd July he was admitted to the 1st General Hospital in France.

On 28th of July 1917 Private Edwards was placed aboard the H.T. Warilda for evacuation to England.

He was admitted to the 3rd Southern General Hospital at Oxford, England on 29th July 1917 with bomb wound back severe.

He was listed as ‘Wounded … Pte. J. W. Edwards (Wellington), dangerously’ in the ‘War Casualties’ list in the Evening News on 9th August 1917.[3]

On 30th August 1917 he was transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Darford, England.

On 3rd September 1917 Private Edwards was discharged from hospital and granted leave to report to Weymouth, England on 17th September 1917.

On 19th October 1917 Private Edwards departed England  to commence his return to Australia aboard the H.T. Port Lyttleton.  He arrived in Australia on 16th December 1917.

On 21st January 1918 Private Edwards was discharged medically unfit.

[1] ‘The “Coo-ees” Come’, Molong Express and Western District Advertiser, 23 October 1915, p. 10,

[2] Australian Imperial Force unit war diaries, 1914-18 War, AWM4 Subclass 23/20 – 3rd Infantry Battalion, AWM4 23/20/29 – July 1917.

[3] ‘War Casualties. New South Wales Losses. 329th List.’, Evening News, 9 August 1917, p. 2,


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