William John Coombe

RANK: Private


UNITS SERVED: 48th Battalion Australian Infantry

Personal Details: William was born 28th May 1899 in Knoxville, South Australia to William and Mary Maude (nee Craigie). He was registered under the name William James Samuel Walter Coombe, he was one of eleven children born to this couple.  It is not known why his named was changed to William John. On his Attestation papers William states he was born in Waterfall Gully. He was employed as a Blacksmith in Gumeracha.

Enlistment Details: William enlisted on  28th May 1917 at Adelaide. He boarded a train on the 12th of July to Sydney where he embarked on the 16th July on the HMAT ‘Port Melbourne’.

Details about his role in the war: Between embarkation date and when he arrived in Liverpool, England on the 16th September he had incurred two disciplinary actions for insolence and disobedience. He was also twice admitted to hospital whilst at sea. After his arrival he was once again admitted to hospital with mumps. He proceeded overseas from the 12th Training Btn at Codford on the 8th January 1918. On the 21st January 1918 he was taken on strength in the field to the 48th Battalion. William was wounded in the thigh on the 28th of June and admitted to the 47th Casualty Clearing Station where he died from his injuries on the 30th.

Cemetery: Crouy British Cemetery, Crouy-Sur-Somme, France

Interesting Details: On the day of his death his Battalion’s War Diary’s only entry for the day mentions that they had swapped 2300 pairs of dirty socks for clean ones!