William George Hines was born in Albury in 1886. He was one of 11 children born to John and Eva Hines. The family lived in Victoria, where John worked in the mining industry, until 1914, when they relocated to Orange.
William remained in Victoria, having married Rita Vivian Harcourt in July 1911. The couple was living in East Melbourne where William was working for the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company at as a gripman (or driver) when he enlisted in May 1915.
He spent nearly two months in training camp, before embarking HMAT Demosthenes in Melbourne on 16 July, a private in the 6th Battalion, 7th Reinforcements. In September Private Hines joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and proceeded to Gallipoli. He served for just one month before being hospitalised, suffering from influenza. He was transferred to 1st Auxiliary Hospital in Heliopolis, then a convalescent camp in Helouan until early December, when he was discharged to light duties in Egypt. Ill-health plagued Hines; he was hospitalised on numerous occasions with influenza, appendicitis and trench fever.
In September 1916 Private Hines proceeded to England, where he undertook further training, and in June 1917 he was transferred to France. It was here that William was killed in action on 29 April 1918.
William’s family remained in Orange, his father John was a businessman until his death in 1935, and his mother Eva worked tirelessly for both the Red Cross and the Comforts Fund during both world wars.
William is commemorated on the Holy Trinity Church Orange Honour Roll and on the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph. There is also a commemorative plaque in Orange Cemetery, Church of England Section W, Grave 99/100.
Two of William’s brothers also served in WWI; Phillip Edward Hines and John George Hines, both of whom returned safely to Australia.
William’s family inserted the following poem in the Leader a year after his death:
It seems but a year since we bade him good-bye.
His heart full of hope and his spirit so high;
How little we thought when he left us that day,
The grim hand of death would soon tear him away.
So gentle and kind, how we miss his dear face,
Now we know that on earth we can ne’er fill his place.
Though asleep in a soldier’s lonely grave unknown,
In sorrow and tears are his loved ones at home.