William Francis Combs

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William Francis Combs
Combs William Francis.jpg
better photo wanted
Personal Information
Date of Birth 1 Jan 1898
Place of Birth Perth, Western Australia
Death 11 Dec 1976, aged 78
Place of Death Palmyra, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 18 years, 6 months
Description 5'8" (1.73m) tall ; 158lbs
71.668 kg
; fair complexion ; grey eyes ; fair hair
Occupation Cleaner
Religion Methodist
Address Maddington, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr George Henry Combs
Military Information
Reg Number 2885
Date of Enlistment 11 Jul 1916
Rank Sergeant
Unit/Formation 51st Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
Date of Embarkation 9 Nov 1916 ‒ 10 Jan 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A8 Argyllshire
Date of Return 17 Apr 1920 ‒ 10 Jun 1920
Ship Returned On SS Bahia Castillo
Fate Wounded in action 12 Oct 1917 at Passchendaele
Wounded in action 24 Mar 1918 at Villers-Bretonneux
Returned to Australia
Monument Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

War Service

Bill entered camp on 11 Jul 1916 and on 1 Aug 1916 was transferred to the 8th reinforcement group for the 51st Battalion. Obviously showing aptitude, on 4 Sep 1916 Bill was moved up to the 7th reinforcement draft for the 51st Battalion. The journey to England lasted from 9 Nov 1916 until 10 Jan 1917, and on arrival at Devonport they were sent to the 13th Training Battalion at Codford to prepare for trench warfare on the continent.

Bill proceeded to France through Folkestone on 9 May 1917 and was taken on the strength of the 51st Battalion on 13 May 1917 at Buire in France. On 1 Oct 1917 he was appointed Lance Corporal before being wounded in action on 12 Oct 1917. Seen by the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance he was sent to the 14th General Hospital in Boulogne on 13 Oct 1917 who treated him before releasing him to the 1st Convalescent Depot on 16 Oct 1917.

Bill rejoined the battalion in the field on 27 Nov 1917. On 10 Mar 1918 Bill was granted leave in the UK, rejoining his unit on 3 Apr 1918. Three weeks later on 24 Mar 1918 Bill was wounded in action a second time with a bullet wound to his left arm. Treated by the 2/3 HC Field Ambulance he was passed to the 5th Casualty Clearing Station on 25 Apr 1918, and then the 3rd Stationary Hospital in Rouen on 26 Apr 1918. On 28 Apr 1918 he boarded HMHS St David for England where the next day he was admitted to the 5th Southern General Hospital in Portsmouth. A month later on 28 May 1918 he was released to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital in Dartford. Granted furlough from 31 May 1918 until 14 Jun 1918 after which he reported to NO. 1 Command Depot at Sutton Veny.

In August Bill was on a training course at Devonport before spending 9 days in hospital at Bulford. On 16 Oct 1918 he was dealt with for "Being in Bishopstron at 2305 hours on 8 Oct 1918 without a pass. For this he was admonished.

On 1 May 1919 at Sutton Veny he was made Temporary Corporal and on 1 Sep 1919 acting Sergeant. On 4 Dec 1919 he was detached from the permanent Cadre, retaining the rank of Corporal and on 27 Dec 1919 at Sutton Veny he married 22 year old Ellen Kate Wheeler.

20 Jan 1920 sent on indefinite leave. Eventually shipped home , arriving on 10 Jun 1920, he was discharged by the 5th Military District on 13 Aug 1920.

Post War


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