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William Randall Foggon

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William Randall Foggon
Foggon William.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 23 Jan 1918
Place of Birth Haviton Hill, England
Death 13 Oct 1970
Place of Death Myaree, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 21 years, 11 months
Description 5'7" (1.7m) tall ; ; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; fair hair ; scar on left thigh
Occupation Labourer
Religion Church of England
Address Smail's Mill, Karragullen, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr William Foggon
Military Information
Reg Number WX1052
Date of Enlistment 23 Nov 1939
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 20 Apr 1940 ‒ 19 May 1940
Transport Details HMT Y3 Nevasa Fremantle to El Kantana, Egypt
Transfers
Journey Dates 10 Apr 1941 ‒ 12 Apr 1941
Transport Details SS Pennland Alexandria, Egypt to Piraeus, Greece
Journey Dates 25 Apr 1941 ‒ 26 Apr 1941
Transport Details SS Thurland Castle Megarda, Greece to Suda Bay, Crete
Journey Dates 13 May 1945
Transport Details plane Italy to England ?
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 18 Jun 1945 ‒ 24Jul 1945
Transport Details J11 England to Sydney
Post War Details
Fate POW
Returned to Australia
External Monument(s) The Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Ballarat, Victoria
Medals 1939-45 Star
Africa Star
Defence Medal
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45



Pre War

Bill arrived in Australia on the SS Jervis Bay from London (12 Feb 1924), arriving in Fremantle with his parents William (A riveter) and Sybil and sister Dorreen in March 1924

War Service

Enlisted at Subiaco and was allocated to the 2/11th Battalion, 6th Division. On 30 Nov 1939 they transferred to the eastern states to join the rest of their Division. On 12 Dec 1939 at Rutherford, NSW, Bill was charged with overstaying his leave, and fined 5 shillings (50cents). At Greta, north east of Newcastle, NSW, on 1 Jan 1940 he was late returning from leave and was fined 10 shillings ($1), and forfeited a day's pay (5/- or 50 cents).


On 20 April 1940 they departed from Fremantle for Egypt, where ten days after their arrival on 29 May 1940 Bill was involved in an accident at Gaza Ridge resulting in fractures to his ribs and clavicle. Hospitalised in the 2/1st Australian General Hospital until 14 Jun 1940 when he was released to duty. On 23 Jun 1940 Bill was charged at Kilo 89 with "Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline in that he committed a nuisance outside the canteen", For which he was, the next day fined 5 shillings (50 cents).


After arriving in the Middle East, the 2/11th trained in Palestine and Egypt. A decision to reorganise Australian infantry brigades along British lines, with three battalions instead of four, meant the 2/11th was now part of the 19th Brigade, but it remained part of the 6th Division. As part of the reorganisation D Company included the Bren Carrier Platoon with Bill one of their number. The battalion went into action for the first time at Bardia on 5 Jan 1941 and, as part of the Allied advance into Italian-occupied Libya, subsequently fought at Tobruk on 21-22 Jan 1941, and to secure Derna airfield on 25 Jan 1941. It was advancing to the south of Benghazi when the Italians surrendered on 7 Feb 1941. On 31 Mar 1941, Bill was remustered as a group III Driver, MT 1st Class, and with the rest of his unit embarked in Alexandria harbour for Greece on SS Pennland. On 18 Apr 1941 he was admitted to hospital with urethritis and later evacuated to a Holding Hospital.


Bill had rejoined his Bren Carriers Platoon mates before it was sent to Tempe Pass in north east Greece where with New Zealanders and the 2/7th Battalion they were required to halt the German advance. Bill was one of those on the right side of the defensive position, lower down than the rest. After 4 days defying German attempts to break through, including incessant air bombardment, the Germans repaired the bridge over the Tempe River and attacked with tanks against which the infantry had little protection. The section that Bill was part of lost all but three carriers before they could withdraw.


The Allied forces were unable to hold back the attacking Germans. The 2/11th Battalion had withdrawn from its initial positions at Kalabaka and remained on the move until it occupied rearguard positions at Brallos Pass a week later. It fought and slowed the Germans there on 24 April and then continued its withdrawal to Megara, where it was evacuated by sea on the night of 25 Apr 1941 aboard SS Thurland Castle . 300 men were left behind, including it seems the rest of the Bren Carrier Platoon, Bill included.[1] Bill was reported as missing in Greece on 2 Jun 1941, and on 21 Jun 1941 he was confirmed by the Red Cross as being a prisoner of war. Bill's POW number was 3678


Released from captivity, on 13 May 1945 he deplaned in the UK, as a recovered POW, and he marched in to the 1st AIF Transit Camp. On 18 Jun 1945 he embarked on J11 in England for Sydney, where he arrived on 24 Jul 1945. Bill marched out to Western Command (WA) on 2 Aug 1945. On 15 Oct 1945 he suffered accidental laceration of his right palm and has a sprained right ankle. On 19 Dec 1945 he faced a series of civil charges in Western Australia: Speeding on 12 Nov 1945 - fined £4 and 3 shillings for costs; No Driver's Licence £1 and 3 shillings costs; Negligent driving £1 and 14 shillings and sixpence ($1.45); No Driver's Licence £1 plus 3 shillings costs.


Bill was discharged by Western Command at Karrakatta on 23 Jan 1946.

Post War

Had married Gladys Margaret Cabbage before 1947. Gladys died on 10 Jun 2002 in Kelmscott, aged 81. Son Terence William was born 21 May 1947. Daughter Beverley Margaret was born 29 Jul 1949, and a second son Ashley Ian was born in late June 1953.

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 Welshpool road, Wattle Grove, labourer; 1954 - 1958 at Railway street, Queens Park, waterside worker; 1963 - 1968 at 96 North Lake road, Melville, Lumper.

Notes

Brother George Anthony Foggon W74828 & WX 22828 also served.

For a summary of the action where Bill was capture see pages 86-90 of The History of the 2/11th (City of Perth) Australian Infantry Battalion 1939-45 by K.T. Johnson, published by John Burridge Military Antiques 2000.

The Kalgoorlie Miner and other newspapers on 14 Jun 1941 published AIF Casualties that included 115 missing in action- with Bill named as one of them, as was Pte KJ Higgins from Kelmscott and Pte EJ Marchant of Karragullen who served with the engineers. On Friday 8 Jun 1945 the West Australian published a list of 179 former prisoners who had been released, including Pte BH Benson, Kelmscott; Pte W Foggon, Karragullen; Pte S Hancock Wongong; Pte AD Johnson, Armadale; and Pte AA Lewis, Jarrahdale.

  1. "Battalion into Battle - The History of the 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion 1039-45" by Wes Olsen page 139. Self published 2011

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