Wallace Albert Williamson
Serial No. 233
Australian Army Medical Corps
Wallace Albert Williamson - Information
Wallace Albert, known as Wal, was a son of William Wallace and Sarah Victoria Williamson. Wallace was born in Liverpool in 1892 and then moved to Campbelltown with his parents in the mid 1890s. Here, William and Sarah added more children to their growing family. In the 1910s, William relocated the family to a property called Kirkcaldy on Lanthll St in South Kensington. Here, Wal supported himself working as a labourer. When war with Germany was announced on the 5th of August 1914, Wal and his younger brother, Basil, were quick to join up. They enlisted in August, Wal on the 24th, in Sydney, and was made a Driver with the 1st Field Ambulance. He was then sent overseas, sailing from Sydney on the 20th of October 1914 onboard the HMAT Euripides.
Wal arrived in Egypt at the end of 1914. At this time, there were no specific plans for where the AIF were to go. As a result, there was little for the men to do in Egypt other than continue training. On the 8th of January 1915, Wal was admitted to hospital with venereal disease until early March. Then, on the 5th of April, Wal's unit proceeded to join operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula, stationed to Lemnos Island. Men of the Field Ambulances were then put ashore at what was to be known as Anzac Cove in the first series of landings on the 25th of April. The amount of wounded on the first day would have been staggering; medical staff often risking their lives to get them to makeshift casualty stations. Sadly, there were so many and so few boats and ships to evacuate them; that the wounded waited for hours or even days on the beach. Wal worked hard to help save the lives of the many wounded troops. In July, he was granted a reprieve from Gallipoli, despatched to Alexandria for almost two weeks, before going back to the Dardanelles on the 21st of July. In August, Basil and his father, William, also arrived at Gallipoli. Sadly, only a few days later, on the 22nd of August, Basil was killed in action. After hearing this news, Wal's health started to decline. On the 25th, he was admitted to the aid post at Anzac Cove with diarrhoea and dysentery as a result of the poor sanitary conditions, diet and shock. In mid September, he was then admitted at Mudros on the Island of Lemnos, to the 2nd Stationary Hospital. The dysentery also led to a gastritis infection, and he was subsequently evacuated to England on the Hospital Ship Acquitania. He was then admitted to hospital in Southampton. Here, Wal was then granted some convalescence. However, in January 1916, he was again diagnosed with venereal disease, which delayed his return to duty, receiving treatment at Denmark Hill Hospital. He had recovered by early July, and was despatched for duty with the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield.
At this time, Wal's father, William, had returned from Gallipoli sick and was eventually invalided back to Australia. He was receiving treatment at Randwick Hospital in Sydney, when he passed away from illness on the 3rd of July 1916. Wal's mother was distraught by the death of Basil and now her husband. She started writing the army to bring Wal home. They capitulated, and on the 8th of August 1916, three days after he was promoted Corporal, he began his journey to Australia. By late November, Wal was discharged due to his mother's request and returned home to her in Kensington.