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.
Leader, 25 October 1916, p. 6.
Private WW Lawson