William George Blanchard
Serial No. 855
59th Australian Railway Operating Company & 5th Australian Bridging Gauge Railway Operating Company
William George Blanchard - Information
As conflict enveloped the world, William was living on Throssel St in Collie, Western Australia, with his wife Maud. William was born in Picton c1885, and eventually relocated west. He supported his family as a fireman and driver and served in a local militia regiment. When he was 31 years old, he decided to join his mates, signing up in Perth on the 15th of January 1917. Upon enlisting, William was stationed to the Railway Corps, and promoted Sergeant four days later. He then departed Fremantle on the 29th of January 1917 onboard the HMAT Miltiades.
William disembarked in Devonport in late March, allocated to the 59th Australian Railway Operating Detail. In May, he arrived on the Western Front. From mid October until December, he was detached for duty with the Royal Engineers. On the 8th of May 1918, he reported sick with a rectal abscess and influenza. He was then evacuated to England to Lakenham Military Hospital in Norwich. In August, he was taken back to France, now with the 5th Australian Bridging Gauge Railway Operating Company. He remained in the Railway Unit, until he left for Australia on the 21st of June 1919. He returned to Western Australia reuniting with his loving wife.