Serial No. 1951
5th Railway Section
William Hagan - Information
William Hagan, known as Bill, was a native of Campbelltown, and a son of John and Mary Ann Hagan. At the outbreak of war, Bill was working as a cleaner and fireman, and was soon to meet the love of his life. He married Alice Lydia Longhurst on the 25th of September 1915 in Campbelltown, and moved to a residence in King St. Alice was pregnant with their first child, when Bill watched his older brother Walter, join the AIF in January 1916. Several months later, Bill and Alice welcomed their first son, James Walter, on the 23rd of August 1916. The following year, Bill decided to enlist in Sydney on the 23rd of March 1917. Fortunately, he was able to acquire Final Leave between the 23rd-27th of March, allowing him the chance to say goodbye to his wife and young son.
In early April, Bill was transferred to the 5th Railway Section in Broadmeadows, Victoria. His unit then embarked Melbourne upon HMAT Ascanius on the 11th of May 1917, and arrived at Devonport in July. Rushed off the vessel, they were marched into the 5th Section Railway in Bordon, and by September, Bill proceeded to France via Folkestone. In France, he was taken on strength to the 16th Australian Light Railway Operating Company in October. Throughout the war, Bill was transferred to various Light Railway Units including the 2nd, 5th and 29th. At the end of 1917, William was informed that his brother was reported as missing in action and later declared killed.
Bill continued to serve with his unit until he was sent home to Australia. He arrived in Sydney abroad the HT Konig/Luise on the 16th of August 1919. Bill returned to his wife and son in Campbelltown, after more than two years apart. Bill and Alice were quickly blessed with the arrival of another son, Ronald William, on the 16th of June 1920. Tragically, Bill then lost his young wife in 1926, aged only 35. Bill was left to raise their two sons alone. His children continued to live in Campbelltown and when they were older, followed in their father’s footsteps both enlisting in the army during the Second World War. Bill passed away in 1953, aged 63, and was buried in St Peter’s Campbelltown.