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Harold Percy Williams, 1917. Image courtesy Robert Bartlett.

Percy Williams was born in Bobinawarrah in Victoria in 1893, the first child of school teacher Christopher Williams and his wife Susan.  A brother – David – was born in 1896, and in 1898 a sister – Gladys. Two boys – Edward and Stuart – followed.

Once the children had grown the family moved to Sydney and Percy and David – known as ‘Reg’ – moved to Orange to open a motor cycle shop – William Brothers at 22 Summer Street.  An accomplished violinist, Percy attended a dancing school in Orange, and it was here that he met his future wife, Amy Burton.  Amy lived at 14 Lords Place and worked as a dental nurse with dentist Arthur Wallace.  She was a proficient pianist and the couple enjoyed musical evenings, as well as tennis parties and picnics.  Percy and Amy were engaged in October 1917.

Percy enlisted in Orange on 12 November 1917, aged 24.  He embarked on the Indarra at Melbourne just 2 weeks later on 26 November, disembarking at Southampton on 15 February 1918.  Percy was stationed in England during the war, working as an air mechanic with the Australian Flying Corps.  He returned to Australia aboard the Kaiser-i-Hind, disembarking in Sydney on 19 June 1919.

Percy and Amy were married at the Rockdale Methodist Church on 21 January 1922.  They made their home in Sydney and had two children, though travelled often to Orange to visit family and friends. Percy’s name appears on the Methodist Church Orange Honour Roll.

Percy’s and Reg’s sister Gladys lived at Glen Ayr, the Williams family home in Bexley in Sydney.  A gifted artist and musician, she earned her living working as a piano teacher.  Gladys worked tirelessly for those charities that she supported, including the Flying Doctor Service and St Lucy’s School for Blind Children.  Gladys volunteered as an ambulance driver during WWII.

During the course of WWI both Amy and Gladys corresponded with their soldier friends on regular basis.  Amy’s friends included William Stuart McKay, Charles Ewart Hawke, Hilton Norman Williamson, William Roy Lowdon, and James Robert Digges.

One Comment

  • My website is a personal tribute to rockdale and surrounding suburbs ww1 enlistees – percy harold (#2582) and david reginald (lieut) Williams feature (as bexley residents.
    If any current relation has details (especially photos) please contact me at
    Also if Orange City Council are interested in a similar website please contact me to discuss