William Archer Waller

From Our Contribution

William Archer Waller
Waller William Archer.jpg
Sunday Times 24 Sep 1916 page 5
Waller William Archer headstone.jpg
Linton Reynolds photo April 2023
Personal Information
Date of Birth unknown 1888
Place of Birth Highgate, London, Middlesex, England
Death 17 Jul 1916
Place of Death Fromelles, France
Age at Enlistment 27 years old
Description 6' 1¼" (1.86m) tall ; 180 lbs
81.647 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; fair hair
Occupation Brickmaker
Religion Church of England
Address Hesketh's Boarding House, Bellvue, Western Australia
Next of Kin Mother , Mrs Eliza Pennyfather
Military Information
Reg Number 1382
Date of Enlistment 19 Jul 1915
Rank Lance Corporal
Unit/Formation 32nd Battalion, D Company
Date of Embarkation 18 Nov 1915 ‒ 18 Dec 1915
Ship Embarked On HMAT A2 Geelong
Fate Killed in Action 17 Jul 1916 in the Fromelles area
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Beenup panel)
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
WA State War Memorial
Australian War Memorial
Medals 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Electoral Roll entry - 1915 - 1916 Clayton street, Bellevue, bricklayer.

War Service

On 16 Aug 1915, a month after entering Blackboy Hill camp, Bill was allocated to 'D' Company of the newly formed 32nd Battalion, one made up of Western and South Australians. The day before he had been fined 2 shillings and sixpence for being absent without leave from Tattoo until 11.30pm. The Western Australians ('C' and 'D' Companies) set out from Blackboy Hill camp by train to Fremantle early on 25 Sep 1915, and sailed later that day on the SS Indarra for Port Adelaide which was reached on the 30th. Here they completed their preliminary training with the Western Australian and South Australian Companies working together.

On arrival in Egypt the battalion was first sent to the Moascar camp, before moving to a camp north of Tel-el-Kebir on 6 Feb 1915. On 26 May 1916 at the Ferry Post on the Suez Canal, Bill was appointed Lance Corporal as the battalion was making ready to return to Moascar. On 16 Jun 1916 they entrained at Moascar for Alexandria, arriving there the following morning at 6:00am. Later that day they embarked on the HMT Transylvania and the following morning (18th) at 9:00am they sailed for Marseilles in France where they docked on 23 Jun 1916 at 9:00am.

Five hours later they entrained for Steenbecque near Hazebrouck in northern France, arriving there at 10:00pm on the 25th, and from there they marched to a camp at Morbecque. For the next two weeks they supplied working parties to engineers repairing both the front line and support trenches.

Late on 14 Jul 1916 the battalion moved to billets at Fleurbaix and began preparations to take over the front line trenches on the night of the 16th. This was achieved successfully and that night 'B' and 'D' Companies sent out patrols to reconnoiter the wire and no man's land. These patrols resulted in two men being killed, (Bill one of them) and 7 wounded.

Bill was the first casualty from our district to lose his life on the Western Front.

"...enlisted in the middle of 1915; sailed for Adelaide 25th September, 1915, and went to the front with 32nd Battalion. Killed in action 17th September (sic), 1916."[1]

  • Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery Fleurbaix
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  • Dowell FW headstone 1.jpg
  • Original Memorial Park tree plaque. Tree planted by Mother Eliza Pennyfather
  • Notes

    The Drill of the Foothills lists WD Waller as one of the Beenup boys that had gone off to war, and this description (see above) matches the contents of WA Waller's military records with the exception of the month of his death. The only other possible mach for the name on the memorial is a WJ Waller who was a Beverley resident, also a brickmaker, born in NSW. However, there is nothing in his records to connect him with the Armadale district. Bill's mother Elizabeth received a pension of 15/- per fortnight from 17 Sep 1916.


    1. "The Drill of the Foot-Hills" (PDF) (1917). Western Australia. Mar 1917. p. 13. Retrieved 16 May 2017 – via State Library of Western Australia. 

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