Tag Archives: Joseph John Williams

Joseph John WILLIAMS

Joseph John WILLIAMS

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4912), Joseph John Williams was born at Woollahra, N.S.W.[1]  He gave his age as 36 years and 11 months, his marital status as single, and his occupation as farrier.  His description on Certificate of Medical Examination was height 5 feet 5 ½ inches tall, weight 144 lbs., with a dark complexion, brown eyes, and grey hair.  His religious denomination was Roman Catholic.  He claimed that he had no previous military experience.  He completed his medical examination at Ashfield on 11th November 1915 (the day the Coo-ees marched from Parramatta to Ashfield), and was attested by Lieutenant F. Middenway at Ashfield on 11th November 1915.

It is not known exactly where Joseph John Williams joined (or first presented to join) the Coo-ee March, but it may possibly have been before the 11th November 1915.  The Oath on his Attestation Paper was dated ‘from 6th November 1915’.  The “Date of Joining” recorded for Private Williams on his embarkation roll was 7th November 1915.

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

On 18th February 1916 Private Williams was charged with being absent without leave from the Liverpool Camp for 3 days.  He was fined 25 Shillings.

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was C/o T. Stephenson, 1 Ruffe [sic] Street, Leichhardt, Sydney, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his mother, Mrs. E. M. [Esther Mary] Williams, at the same address.  The initial address recorded for his mother on his Attestation Paper was ‘Railway Parade Wentworth Falls N.S.W.’.

On 8th March 1916 Private Williams departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, along with many of the other Coo-ees, and arrived in Egypt on 11th April 1916.

It is not recorded in his service record when Private Williams left Egypt, but after some training in Egypt, he was sent to the 4th Training Battalion at Rollestone, England.

Private Williams departed England bound for France on 30th July 1916.  He marched into the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples, France, on 1st August 1916.

He was taken on strength of the 13th Battalion on 26th August 1916 when it was at Albert, France, preparing to re-enter the fighting around Pozieres.

On the 1st of January 1917 Private Williams was sent to the 8th Australian Field Ambulance suffering from a sore ankle. On 4th January 1917 he was moved to the 1st General Hospital at Etretat, France. On 26th January 1917 he was transferred to the 2nd Stationary Hospital at Amiens, France, with ICT right ankle.  He was discharged and returned to the 13th Battalion on 8th February 1917.

On 2nd March 1917 Private Williams was sent to the 8th Australian Field Ambulance suffering from Scabies.  He was moved back to the 5th Rest station later that day with Influenza. On 7th March 1917 he was transferred to a Casualty Clearing Station with Trench Feet.  He was later moved to the 5th General Hospital at Rouen with Trench Fever.

On 12th March 1917 Private Williams was placed aboard the Hospital Ship Grantully Castle at Le Harve for evacuation to England.  He was admitted to the 2nd Southern General Hospital at Bristol, England, on the 13th of March 1917, with Trench Fever.

On 16th April 1917 Private Williams was transferred to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford, England.  He was granted leave to report to the Number 3 Command Depot at Hurdcott, England, on 1st May 1917.

On 12th of May 1917 Private Williams was charged with being absent without leave in London from 3.30 p.m. on 1st May 1917 till 9.15 p.m. on 8th May 1917.  He was awarded 8 days Field Punishment Number 2 and fined 19 days pay.

On 4th August 1917 Private Williams was transferred to the Number 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England.

On 27th September 1917 Private Williams departed England aboard the H.T. Suevic bound for Australia, with Debility.  He arrived in Australia on 20th November 1917, and was discharged medically unfit on 25th December 1917.


The 22 Ashfield recruits

Who were the 22 Ashfield recruits?

The Coo-ees held a recruiting meeting, and stayed the night at the Drill Hall at Ashfield on Thursday, 11th November, 1915 – their last night of the Coo-ee March on their long route from Gilgandra to Sydney.

This is now the site of the Ashfield Boys High School gymnasium, and a new car park named Coo-ee Car Park in memory of the 1915 Coo-ee March built recently by the Wests Ashfield Leagues Club.  A plaque about the Coo-ees at Ashfield was unveiled at the Coo-ee Car Park on 21st April 2015.

Plaque at Coo-ee Car Park, Ashfield (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 23/4/2015)

Plaque at Coo-ee Car Park, Ashfield (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson, 23/4/2015)

A plaque on an obelisk is situated in the grounds of the Ashfield Boys High School. It has been there for some time. On it are the words: “Celebrating Gilgandra Coo-ee Marchers 11 November 1915 22 Ashfield men joined with the Coo-ee marches here on this day”.

Coo-ee March obelisk at Ashfield Boys High School (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 3/3/2014)

Coo-ee March obelisk at Ashfield Boys High School (Photograph: S. & H. Thompson 3/3/2014)

Although the “official” count for the total number of Coo-ees recruited on the 1915 Gilgandra to Sydney Coo-ee March per newspaper articles of the time was 263, with Ashfield having a total of 22 recruits, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on 13th November 1915 (p. 19) that ‘the contingent left the western suburb’ of Ashfield ‘about 263 strong, but there are others now to be sworn in – men who joined the little army yesterday.’ The Farmer and Settler reported about Coo-ees numbers on 21st December 1915 (p. 3) that ‘there were no fewer than 277 men on their last pay sheet in camp’.

We have found the following names of 23 men who were attested at Ashfield at the time the Coo-ees were recruiting at Ashfield. We note that one (Bert Kilduff) had paperwork dating only from 12th November 1915 in his service record, so perhaps the ”official” count of 22 recruits was taken the night before at Ashfield, and he was not included.  Although two others also completed their medical examination and signed their attestation paper at Ashfield on the 12th November 1915 (Thomas Edward Bow and Charles Seal), they had both signed the bottom of the first page in their ‘Attestation paper of persons enlisted for service abroad’ on the 11th November 1915.

Attested 11th November 1915 at Ashfield

Robert AYRES (service no. 4729)

Richard John CROCKER (no service no.)

Edward Lewis CUDDEFORD (service no. 5352)

Harold Brooks DAVIS (service no. 4759)

Edgar DAWSON (no service no.)

Thomas DELANEY (service no. 4764)

William ELLERY (service no. 4769)

Richard EVANS (service no. 5368)

Joseph Jacob John HERRINGE (service no. 5700)

Robert Michael HICKEY (service no. 5099)

Albert HULBERT (no service no.)

Hector LEE (service no. Depot)

Thomas LIPSCOMBE (service no. 4826)

Sam LUKE (service no. 4830)

Joseph Raymond MCGUIRE (service no. 4857)

Selby George MEGARRITY (service no. 4841)

William Allen Luther PHILPOT/PHILPOTT (service no. 5164)

William WEBBER (service no. 4917)

Jack Graham WIGGINS (service no. 4918)

Joseph John WILLIAMS (service no. 4912)

Attested 12th November 1915 at Ashfield the (the day the Coo-ees left Ashfield and the last day of the Coo-ee March)

Charles Edward BOW (service no. 4735)

Bert KILDUFF (service no. 4818)

Thomas SEAL (service no. 4895)

Not all of these men were local to the Ashfield area. Some were men who had joined the Coo-ees earlier in the march, or caught up with them at Ashfield, who signed their attestation paper to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force at Ashfield.

William Ellery was reported to be a long term resident of the Dunedoo area before he left to join the Coo-ees.  Edgar Dawson started filling out his paperwork in his service record in Bathurst.  Jack Wiggins was known as a Springwood recruit. Sam Luke joined the Coo-ees at St Marys. Selby Megarrity undertook his medical at Penrith, the day before the Coo-ees arrived at Ashfield.

Fourteen of the Ashfield recruits embarked overseas with the majority of the Coo-ees on the transport  HMAT A15 Star of England on the 8th March 1916.  Five more embarked on other ships soon after.

An individual blog entry will be added to this website for each of the above named Coo-ees.