William Francis Cohn

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William Francis Cohn
Cohn William Francis.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 8 May 1890
Place of Birth Channel Islands, England
Death unknown
"unknown" contains an extrinsic dash or other characters that are invalid for a date interpretation.
Place of Death unknown
Age at Enlistment 26 years, 9 months
Description 5' 5" (1.65m) tall ; 120 lbs
54.431 kg
; fresh complexion ; brown eyes ; brown, slightly grey hair
Occupation Storekeeper's assistant
Religion Church of England
Address Albany road, Kelmscott, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Rhoda Sophia Cohn
Military Information
Reg Number 6002
Date of Enlistment 22 Mar 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 16th Battalion, 19th Reinforcement / 4th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 9 Aug 1916 ‒ 25 Sep 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A28 Miltiades
Fate Prisoner of War 11 APr 1917 1st Bullecourt
Discharged in UK at own request
Monument Armadale War Memorial (Armadale panel)
Kelmscott War Memorial (West panel)
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

William married Rhoda Sophia Dawson in the Canning district during 1912. While Bill was overseas with the AIF his wife moved to live in Prospect road, Armadale.

War Service

Although William signed his enlistment document on 23 Feb 1916 he did not enter camp until 22 Mar 1916 when he was placed in the 50th Depot Company to commence his training. On 12 Apr 1916, William was allocated to the 19th reinforcement draft for the 16th Battalion, and he travelled with them to England aboard HMAT A28 Miltiades which sailed from Fremantle on 9 Aug 1916 and disembarked its troops on 25 Sep 1916. On arrival he was sent to the 4th Training Battalion at Rollestone camp to prepare for France. Having completed his training on 19 Nov 1916, he was admitted to Codford General Hospital for treatment to his eyes and to await travel to France. At Codford he overstayed leave from reveille on 9 Oct until 4:45pm on 10 Oct 1016. Punishment was forfeiture of 4 day's pay.

William proceeded to France on 21 Dec 1916 via Folkestone on the HMT Princesse Clementine. He joined the 16th Battalion on 2 Jan 1917, the day that they marched from Cardonnette to Ribemount for a period of unit level rebuilding and retraining. Their return to the front lines was to participate in an attack in the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt. William was one of the many Australians captured at Riencourt (1,170) during the disastrous attack on Bullecourt on 11 Apr 1917. In many cases, due to a series of mistakes by senior commanders they were cut off from their own supporting troops and out of ammunition. William was eventually interned at Gef Minden and Gef Angenenlager camps in Germany.

"Missing 11.4.17" Prisoner of War - Interned at Gef Minden, certified by Post-Card received from A.J. Carter; 19.4.17. Transferred Dulmen, advised by postcard from William; transferred to Munster from Dulmen, again certified by postcard from William who also asked "Obliged if you could inform my wife that I am in good health. Her address is - Armadale, West Australia." Arrived Hull 5-12-18 certified by List from AIF Hqters[1].

Repatriated via Hull, he arrived at Ripon on 3 Dec 1918, and subsequently was attached to AIF Administration Headquarters in London from 14 Jan 1919. He requested that his discharge not occur until the functions of his unit are no longer required. AWOL from 8:45am on 8 May 1919 until 8:45 am on 10 May 1919. Admonished, he had to forfeit 4 days pay. (Two as a penalty and 2 for the day's not present.)

William was discharged in the UK on 22 Nov 1919 at his own request, and with his wife in Australia's concurrence.

Answering the Call ..Fit for Service ..W.F. Cohn;, Kelmscott[2]

301st Casualty List - Missing W.F. Cohn, Kelmscott[3]

PRISONERS OF WAR...Wm. Francis Cohn, Kelmscott, previously reported missing...[4]

Post War

Returned to Guernsey to take over his parent's vegetable and flower growing business.

He is most likely the W.F. Cohu listed on the original Kelmscott obelisk (Army records confuse the spelling Cohu and Cohn), and the W Cohue on the Armadale face of the Armadale obelisk. No records of any Cohue exist and the only Cohu listed is W.F. Cohn.

William (42), along with wife Rhoda Sophia (44) and sons Frederick (16), and Harold Frank (14), travelled to Australia aboard the P&O Steamship SS Ballarat from London, leaving on 24 Oct 1930 for Fremantle. William's occupation is given as 'grower', and their address as Landes, du Marshe, Vale, Guernsey. Australia is given as their intended permanent address.


Name incorrectly spelt on both memorials - Cohu on Kelmscott's, and Cohue on Armadale's.


  1. "Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files - William Francis Cohn". Australian War Memorial. 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018. 
  2. "ANSWERING THE CALL.". The Daily News. XXXV, (12,805). Western Australia. 23 February 1916. p. 6 (THIRD EDITION). Retrieved 30 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. "MISSING.". The Daily News. XXXVI, (13,187). Western Australia. 21 May 1917. p. 5 (THIRD EDITION). Retrieved 30 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. "PRISONERS OF WAR.". The Daily News. XXXVI, (13,207). Western Australia. 16 June 1917. p. 8 (THIRD EDITION). Retrieved 30 May 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 

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