Basil Bruce Williamson
Serial No. 682
Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force & 18th Battalion
Basil Bruce Williamson - Information
Basil Bruce Williamson was born in Campbelltown in 1896. He was a son of William Wallace and Sarah Victoria Williamson. William had moved the family to Campbelltown from the outer Sydney suburbs in the mid 1890s. Basil grew up in the area with his siblings, basking in the joys of rural life. In 1907, Basil and his younger brother, Roy, enjoyed the town's Jubilee Celebrations which ran between the 17th and 24th of November. They joined in the many festivities featuring brass bands, go karts and shooting competitions with many other local boys who would later serve in the First World War, such as Bert Kitching and Walter Skerritt. Basil served in the Citizen Forces with the 24th Infantry, and attended school on Cleveland St in Sydney, before completing a manufacturing apprenticeship. In the early 1910s, the Williamsons moved from Campbelltown to a property called Kirkcaldy on Lanthall St in South Kensington. Here, Basil began working as a plasterer. When the war was announced, Basil and his older brother, Wallace, enlisted in the war effort. Basil joined the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN & MEF) as a Private.
He embarked Sydney on the 19th of August 1914 onboard the HMAT Berrima as part of the 1st Expeditionary Force. The Naval and Military Expeditionary Force were responsible for patrolling for German Naval vessels and acquiring German assets in the South Pacific. The 1st Expeditionary Force was sent to capture a series of wireless stations at Rabaul in German New Guinea. They were successful, stationed there for six months, before he returned to Australia in February 1915. The AN & MEF was then demobilised and he was concurrently discharged.
Shortly, after returning, he re-enlisted in the AIF in Liverpool on the 22nd of March 1915. Basil commenced training with the infantry, and was soon joined by his father, William, who enlisted on the 29th of March in Liverpool. Both Basil and William were posted to B Company in the 18th Battalion. They were then sent off to war, departing Sydney Harbour on the HMAT Ceramic on the 25th of June 1915. The Ceramic made berth in Egypt, with Basil and William rushed ashore. They were quickly transported to the Gallipoli Peninsula, joining the 18th Battalion in the lines on the 16th of August. At the time, large offensives were launched in an attempt to break the stalemate at Gallipoli. Sadly, Basil had only been in the lines for less than a week, when he was wounded in action at Hill 60. On the 22nd of August, Basil was shot in the head. William watched in horror as his boy was flung to the ground. Feeling helpless, he could do nothing but wait for news, as he was taken away by stretcher bearers. He was carried to Anzac Cove by the 4th Field Ambulance, but later died from his wounds on the beach waiting to be evacuated. Basil was buried no doubt by his father; however, today his body's exact location is unknown. His name is recorded on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli. Back in Campbelltown, his sacrifice was also commemorated at the Soldier's Memorial.