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Cecil Willis


Serial No:
Serial No. 1987

55th Battalion & 35th Battalion


Cecil Willis - Information

Cecil was born in Picton in 1892. When the war began, the Willis family was living in Glenquarrie, near Bowral. Here, Cecil found work as a hod carrier. At the age of 23, he enlisted in the AIF in Goulburn on the 15th of February 1916. During training, he was made a Private with the 3rd Reinforcements, 55th Battalion. He then departed Sydney for war service on the 23rd of June 1916 on the HMAT Barambah.

Cecil arrived in Plymouth Harbour in late August. While undergoing further training, he was transferred to the 35th Battalion in September. He shipped out with his new unit to France on the 21st of November. However, a week later, he was admitted to the 18th General Hospital with venereal disease. He rejoined his unit in early February 1917. Unluckily, a month later, he was taken out of the lines with the mumps. When he returned in April, he found out that the Germans had withdrawn to the Hindenburg Line. On the 6th of May, Cecil was slightly wounded but remained at duty. The following month, the 35th Battalion participated in the Battle of Messines. Here, Cecil was wounded again on the 13th of June, spending a day in hospital. The next major assault came with the Third Battle of Ypres. As the Battalion attacked towards Passchendaele on the 12th of October, Cecil was hit in the back. He was rushed to the 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, and then admitted to the 54th General Hospital. On the 17th, he was evacuated to England to the Kitchener War Hospital. By the start of 1918, he was recovering, resuming light training details at Hurdcott. However, from March to May, he was treated on several occasions for venereal disease. In mid October, Cecil was transferred to Machine Gun Details, commencing instructional courses in Grantham. A month later the war was over. Cecil remained in England, until he was sent home on the 9th of March 1919.