William Boyd Griffiths
From Our Contribution
|Date of Birth||14 Feb 1919|
|Place of Birth||Armadale, Western Australia|
|Death||29 Jul 1991, aged 72|
|Place of Death||Queens Park, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||21 years, 1 month|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||22 Cheetham street, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Mother , Mrs. V Griffiths|
|Date of Enlistment||7 Apr 1940|
|Unit/Formation||2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion|
|1st Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||10 May 1940 ‒ 17 Jun 1940|
|Transport Details||SS Mauretania Fremantle to Gourock|
|Journey Dates||4 Jan 1941 ‒ 10 Mar 1941|
|Transport Details||unknown Gourock, Scotland to Egypt|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||11 Sep 1943 ‒ 1 Oct 1942|
|Transport Details||AHS2 Wanganella Egypt to Fremantle|
|Post War Details|
WIA 14 Sep 1941 Tobruk |
Returned to Australia
In 1939 Bill was working on a casual basis with the Western Australian Government Railways in Kalgoorlie, which is where he enlisted on 7 Apr 1940. On 8 April he arrived at the Northam Camp where he was taken on strength by the AIF General Reinforcements. No amount of training was to occur in Western Australia. Bill had required medical attention on 25 Apr 1940 for a cut foot, being released on 27 Apr 1940 to proceed on pre-embarkation leave until 7 May 1940. Barely had he returned from the leave when he embarked for overseas service.
Convoy US 3 consisted of Queen Mary, Aquitania, Empress of Britain, Empress of Canada, Empress of Japan, Andes and the SS Mauretania which Bill and his reinforcement draft boarded on 10 May 1940 when he was allocated to the 2nd reinforcement draft for the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion. The Convoy sailed on 12 May for Ceylon (Sri Lanka). However, with the entry of Italy into the war and it having armed forces in its East African colonies adjacent to their voyage route to Egypt, the convoy was rerouted to England via Cape Town and Freetown. They eventually disembarked on 17 Jun 1940 at Gourock, on the River Clyde near Glasgow. On 27 Jun 1940 Bill was transferred to the 71st Australian Infantry Battalion which was being raised in England from the troops arriving on the US 3 Convoy.
Bill was AWOL from midnight 12 Oct 1940 until midday on the 14th, and for this he forfeited 2 days pay and was awarded 14 days Confined to Barracks. On 28 Oct 1940 the name of his unit changed to 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion. They moved to Tidworth and Colchester where they undertook training. The battalion then embarked at Gourock, Scotland on 4 Jan 1941 for the Middle East, again travelling via South Africa as on 15 Feb 1941 at Durban, Bill was found guilty of having been AWOL from midnight 11 Feb until 1:00am on 13 Feb 1941. He was fined £4 ($8) and forfeited 2 days pay. The battalion disembarked in Egypt on 10 Mar 1941, before travelling to Kilo 89 in Palestine by train.
In April they were preparing for service in Greece but did not proceed due to the rapid German advance down the Greek Peninsular. At Dimra on 30 Apr 1941 Bill was charged with Conduct prejudicial to Military Discipline. His case was heard on 1 May and he was found guilty and fined £3. On 14 Sep 1941 Bill participated in a raid on enemy positions and in doing so was wounded in action (slight), remaining with the battalion. However, on 22 Sep 1941 he was admitted to 2/4th Australian General Hospital with a badly infected leg caused by the gun shot wound. On 27 Sep 1941 Bill was passed on to the 2/11th Australian General Hospital. On the mend, he was released to the 2/1st Australian Convalescent Depot on 25 Oct 1941, and was then sent back to the 24th Australian Infantry Training Battalion on 15 November enroute to his battalion which he reached on 18 Nov 1941. While with the convalescent depot he was charged with a number of offences: 1) AWOL from 12:30pm on 2 Nov 1941 until 8:00pm on 3 Nov 1941; 2) Resisting an escort whose duty it was to have him in charge on 3 Nov 1941; 3) While being in arrest, attempting to escape; and 4) Conduct to the Prejudice of Good Order and Military Discipline on 3 Nov 1941. Found Guilty of all charges he was fined £5 and forfeited 2 days pay.
Bill was hospitalised again on 21 Nov 1941 in the 2/7th Australian General Hospital with Orchitis. released to the battalion again, he rejoined them on 8 Dec 1941 after 10 days with the 24th Australian Infantry Training Battalion. On 31 Jul 1942 he was transferred from the 8th British General Hospital to the 63rd British General Hospital. He was discharged by them, having been assessed as temporarily unfit for Military Service and to be returned to Australia.
On 1 Oct 1942 Bill disembarked from the AHS2 Wanganella having left Egypt on 11 Sep 1942. He was granted leave from 2 - 12 Oct 1942 before joining the Medical Wing of Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot. On 4 Jan 1943 Bill was charged with having been AWOL from the Medical Wing from 8:00am on 26 Dec 1942 until 8:00am on 28 Dec 1942. He was fined £2, with automatic forfeiture of 2 days pay. Over the next three months Bill was either on leave or with the Medical wing until 21 Apr 1943 when a Medical Board classed him as Class D - Medicall Unfit. He was Discharged on 27 May 1943.
In 1949 Bill married Barbara Dorothy Merle McCourt (b. 1919), and they had a daughter. Barbara died 26 Aug 1998 in Quinns Rock.
Electoral Roll entries: 1943 at 9 Bourke street, Leederville, no occupation; 1954 at 22 Chalmers street, East Fremantle, surgical fitter; 1958 - 1963 at 9 Bourke street, North Perth, limb maker; 1968 - 1980 at 72 Beryl street, Balcatta, surgical fitter.