William Henry Baldwin

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William Henry Baldwin
Baldwin William Henry.jpg
Western Mail 20 Jul 1917 p. 19
Personal Information
Date of Birth 26 June 1895
Place of Birth Serpentine, Western Australia
Death 15 May 1967
Place of Death Victoria
Age at Enlistment 21 years, 3 months
Description 5'3¾" (1.62m) tall ; 110 lbs
49.895 kg
; fresh complexion ; brown eyes ; dark brown hair
Occupation Carter
Religion Church of England
Address NOK Serpentine, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Richard Baldwin
Military Information
Reg Number 3247
Date of Enlistment 25 September 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 48th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement
Date of Embarkation 23 December 1916 ‒ 16 February 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A35 Berrima
Date of Return 22 September 1919 ‒ 4 November 1919
Ship Returned On HMAT A15 Port Sydney
Fate Returned to Australia
Monument Mundijong Honour Roll
Serpentine Roll of Honour
ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

Known to the family as "Willie". At the time of his enlistment he was working on his Brother in Law's farm at Coomberdale.

War Service

In January 1916 Willie sought to enlist in the AIF, but was rejected as unfit for military service. However, after the AIF suffered heavy casualties, he again applied in September and this time was accepted, (3247) and was assigned to the 8th Reinforcements for the 48th Battalion.

Five days after entering the Blackboy Hill camp, Willie was sent to Signals School from 30 Sep to 30 Nov 1916. Allocated to the 8th reinforcement draft for the 48th Battalion the next day.

Willie embarked on the HMAT A35 Berrima, on 23 Dec 1916 in Fremantle. The initial destination was Devonport, England, where they arrived on 16 Feb 1917.

Following training with the 12th Training Battalion at Codford and a couple of stints in Sutton Veny hospital, he proceeded overseas to France via Southampton on 29 May 1917. He was taken on the strength of the 48th Battalion on 21 Jun 1917 at at Le Doulieu on the French side of the bordernear Ploegsteert in Belgium. At the time, the 48th Battalion was having a rest after taking heavy casualties during the battle for Messines Ridge.

On 29 Jun 1917 the Battalion marched to Ploegsteert where they were then held in reserve. The area was at that time described as a mess, and the Battalion provided many working parties which in turn were frequently hit by shell fire. It would appear that this accounted for Willie's injury on 6th of July 1917 which, although it is recorded in his army records as 'wounded in action - slight' and 'remaining on duty', was not significant enough to be recorded in the Battalion history book. It was however listed in the 331st Casualty List.

In the middle of July the Battalion left Ploegsteert and returned to Doulieu for further rest and retraining and Willie spent this period (6th Jul 1917 to 21 Aug 1917) in hospital - sick including a period in the 22nd General Hospital at Dannes Camier. At the end of August the Battalion again enters the front line, this time south-east of Wytschaete where they remained for the rest of the month. In Oct 1917 Willie spent 5-6 weeks away from the Battalion in hospital with Synovitis of the knee passing through the hands of the 4th Australian Field Ambulance to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Rouen, France before being sent on to the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital.

Rejoining the unit on 27 Nov 1917, Willie was later detached to the 12th Brigade Machine Gun Company on 25 Mar 1918 and his regimental number was altered to 3247A. This is the day before the 48th Battalion again moved to the forward trenches and prepared for an attack on Passchendaele Ridge . This 'loan' was formalised in late March 1918, just before the new unit was redesignated as the 4th Machine Gun Battalion (1 Apr 1918). Willie remained with them until War's end, despite spending another period as a guest at the 1st Australian General Hospital (6 Apr to 8 Jun 1918).

Remaining in England until 22 Sep 1919, Willie enjoyed a period of leave (1 May to 7 Aug 1919) in order to receive Agricultural work experience with a TH Ward of Galding, Pitchford, Shrewsbury. The report on his training states that he "worked well and proved himself a very keen student of agricultural methods."

On paper he was transfered to the AIF Headquarters in London during training and then he returned to the 4th Machine Gun Battalion before returning to Australia.

Landing at Fremantle on 4th November via HMAT A15 Port Sydney Willie was discharged by 5th Military District on 19th December 1919.

Post War

His postal address at time of discharge was c/- Book Arcade, Boans Ltd, Perth. (Prior to enlistment he described himself as a Library Carter.)

A copy of his service summary was sent to the Secretary, Pride of U.A.O.D., Whittakers Mill, North Dandalup, at Willie's request in February 1920. Therefore we can assume that for a time after his return to Australia he was working there, and perhaps residing with his sister Nellie and her family.

"A recently announced engagement, is that of Miss Jessie Mabel, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Dusting, of Osborne Park, and Mr. William Baldwin, late A.I.F.; third son of Mr. Richard Baldwin, late of Serpentine." was published in the newspaper on 11 Nov 1920.

However, on 24 Oct 1921 William and his wife Myrtle Frederica (nee Schipkie) insert an In Memoriam notice in The Age (Melbourne) for his twin brother Herbert. On 8 May 1922 their first child is born - a daughter Joyce Olive. William Richard ; Cecelia Pearl ; Doreen Myrtle ; Richard ; and Gloria followed.

In 1924 William is a labourer living at 75 Huntington Grove, Coburg; in 1936 as a fitter he resided at 97 Coronation street, North Footscray, 1937 a labourer at 10 Salisbury street, Newport; in 1949 a coppersmith assistant and the family is at 39 Blackwood street, Yarraville.

Willie died in Victoria on 15 May 1967, with Myrtle having predeceased him on 18 Jun 1952 in Yarraville. At the time of Willie's death his son William Richard was living at 43 Riverside avenue, Avondale Heights, Victoria.


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