William Wallace Lawson was born in Kerr’s Creek in 1890. He was one of six children born to William Henry Lawson and his wife and Eliza (nee MacGilligate). William and his siblings were educated at Kerr’s Creek Public School.
William was working as a labourer in Coonabarabran when he enlisted in August 1915. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 13th Reinforcement as a Private and embarked from Sydney on 20 December 1915.
Private Lawson served initially in Egypt. In February 1916 he was transferred to the 54th Battalion, and in June 1916 joined the British Expeditionary Force and proceeded to France for service on the Western Front.
On 20 July 1916 the 54th Battalion was engaged in attacks on German trenches at Bac Saint-Maur near Lille. Fighting was intense – 73 men of the 54th were killed, 288 wounded and 173 were declared missing. William became one of the wounded when he sustained a shrapnel wound to the head. He was subsequently captured by German soldiers and taken to the nearby War Hospital C at Lille. Private Lawson died of his wounds the following day and was buried at Lille Southern Cemetery.
William Lawson is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll and Kerr’s Creek Honour Roll.
Two of William’s brothers – John Cravey Lawson and Stanley Fitzharding Leslie Lawson – also served in WWI. Both returned to Australia after their war service.
Nameless his grave on a battlefield gory,
Marked by a cross o’er a mound of brown earth;
Died in the pride of his youth and his glory,
Far from his home and the land of his birth.
French soldiers take the village of Fleury near Verdun and make progress at Thiaumont
Builders, labourers, gardeners and other interested parties are invited to attend a meeting at the Foresters’ Hall to discuss the construction of a home for returned soldiers in Orange. Homes For Heroes
The Leader reports that the Foresters’ Hall will be open next Thursday to receive donations and Christmas gifts for Orange soldiers at the front. Xmas Boxes For The Boys At The Front
French troops take part of Maurepas and advance to the south-east, while repelling violent German counter-attacks north of the town
Gerald Griffith. Image courtesy Australian War Memorial.
On 29 May 1921 Sir Neville Howse unveiled a memorial stained glass window at the newly opened Methodist Church at March commemorating local lad Gerald Griffith, who was mortally wounded at Messines in Belgium in June 1917. A rendition of The Last Post sounded as the window was unveiled.
Born in Orange in 1890, Gerald was the second of eight children born to William Griffith and his wife Elizabeth (nee Brown) of Glen View at March.
Gerald was working as a farmer at Jarnadup in Western Australia when he enlisted in May 1916. He was appointed Lance Corporal the following month and promoted to Corporal on 1 October 1916. He embarked HMAT A23 Suffolk in Fremantle on 10 October 1916, and disembarked at Plymouth on 2 December 1916.
Corporal Griffith spent the next two months at training camp in England. In early February 1917 he was assigned to the 44th Battalion on the Western Front in France.
On 4 June 1917 the 44th Battalion was engaged in raids on German trenches at Catacombs, Hill 63 and Ploegsteert near Messines. They succeeded in entering the enemy lines, inflicting heavy casualties and capturing four soldiers of the 9th Bavarian Infantry Regiment. Corporal Griffith became one of the Battalion’s 22 casualties that day when he sustained a bullet wound to the head. He was transported to the nearby No 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, where he died the following day from his wounds. Corporal Griffith was buried that same day at Trois-Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, in a service presided over by Army Chaplain the Reverend GK Tucker.
In his will, Gerald Griffith bequeathed his possessions to his younger brother, Arnold Ralston Griffith. In February 1918 Gerald’s personal effects were returned to Australia via HMAT Ulysses. They included Gerald’s identity discs, a testament, three purses, a silver match box, razor, fountain pen, writing wallet cover, scissors, badge, three coins, correspondence and a handkerchief.
In addition to the stained glass window in the Uniting Church in March Gerald is commemorated on the March Public School Honour Roll and the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph.
“An enthusiastic meeting of ladies” takes place at the Orange Town Hall to organise fundraising activities for Wattle Day on 21 August. The meeting agrees to use the funds to send Christmas gifts to local soldiers fighting overseas. Christmas Gifts For Soldiers