Private William Edmonds, my second cousin once removed, was born in 1898 at Barwo (Kotupna/Nathalia), Victoria and was 18 years and 1 month old when he enlisted in the 38th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Forces on the 1st of March 1916.
The 38th Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army. It was raised in 1916 as part of the First Australian Imperial Force for service during World War I and formed part of the 10th Brigade, attached to the 3rd Division. It fought during the Western Front before being disbanded in 1919. The 38th Battalion was reraised in 1921 as the 38th Battalion (The Bendigo Regiment) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/38th_Battalion_(Australia)
William enlisted at Bendigo and his occupation was given as Mill Hand. His application was submitted on the 23rd of February 1916. He was given regimental no. 4803.
He was 5 foot 5 and a half inches tall, weighed 120 pounds and hard a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. Religion was Church of England.
Consent of parents was needed for anyone under 21 years to enlist.
It is interesting that in his records it said he was not to be embarked until 19 years of age.
His date of embarkation from Australia was the 21st of June 1917 on HMAT Suevic A29. Disembarkation was at Liverpool England on the 26th of August 1917.
On the 2nd of September 1917, he marched into the 8th Training Battalion based at Hurdcott Camp near Fovant in Wiltshire. From the 28th of August until the 18th of September 1917 he was in hospital with mumps and later for Laryngitis.
In December 1917 he proceeded to France with the 38th Battalion where he saw action at the front at Rouelles.
Private William Arthur Edmonds was killed in action on the 29th of September 1918 at Bony, France.
Some differing reports from mates were given to the Red Cross.
It seems his parents had separated as William’s father, William Henry Edmonds, was living at Picola West, Victoria and his mother’s address was 4 Vale Street, North Melbourne. A letter was sent to his father c/- Mrs E. C Edmonds (aunt?) at Picola Post Office regarding William’s medals but this letter was never answered and not returned unclaimed. As Williams mother, Blanche Edmonds was sole beneficiary of his Will the medals were then sent to her. Later a letter was written to the Base Records by Blanche that “the father” had deserted his family more than once.
William’s mother, received contradictory information as to where her son was buried. In 1922 the Returned Soldiers League wrote a letter to Victoria Barracks on her behalf.
Eventually it was sorted. He was buried in France.