William Jun Webster
Serial No. 3254
18th Battalion, 54th Battalion & 14th Light Trench Mortar Battery
William Jun Webster - Information
When the war began, William, known as Willie, was living in Glenfield with his family. Born in Rylstone, Willie later found work as a labourer. Shortly after he turned 26, he enlisted in the AIF on the 4th of August 1915 in Liverpool. He then embarked Sydney on the 20th of December 1915 onboard the HMAT Suevic, as a Private with the 7th Reinforcements, 18th Battalion.
Willie joined the 18th Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt in mid February 1916. The following month, they were transported to the Western Front. The 18th were introduced to trench warfare in what was known as The Nursery, a quiet section of the line. They were then mustered along with the rest of I ANZAC Corps for an operation. They were marched out to the Somme region, for what many believed to be the big push to end the war. During attacks at Pozières, Willie was hit in the left leg. On the 25th of July, he was taken to the 39th Casualty Clearing Station by the 7th Field Ambulance. He was then admitted to the 14th Australian General Hospital in Wimereux. He left hospital to join the 54th Battalion in October. After a bitterly cold winter, the men braced themselves for renewed assaults in the new year. These plans were interrupted by the construction of a new German trench system, the Hindenburg Line. In June, Willie was detached and later transferred to the 14th Light Trench Mortar Battery. Throughout the campaigns of 1917 and 1918, Willie and his unit provided mobile fire support for protection and attacks. He assisted in attacks on the Hindenburg Line, during the Third Battle of Ypres, dispelling the German Spring Offensive and breaching the German lines achieving victory. Willie was on Blighty leave in England when the war ended. He was treated for influenza before heading to Australia in 1919.