4145 Private Rupert Pierce Morral Williams
4th Pioneer Battalion, 4th Division,
1st Australian Imperial Force 1914-1919

This file last updated 29 August, 2018 14:36


Photograph - if available

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War One service record of Rupert Pierce Morral Williams, the elder brother of Robert Glen Williams who was Killed in Action in the Middle East.

As with many others, the details of his training and early movement are extremely sparse, with no detail of his initial arrival and disembarkation in the UK.

Note that some of the service record pages may be duplicated - this often occurs when the unit and Army records are amalgamated on the finalisation of service.

Service numbers were allocated by unit, and are not unique to the individual.

Prepared for Jack Lester by Clive Mitchell-Taylor, 19 Aug 2018. View Rupert Willams' Service record, or a brief biography.

Enlistment Details

Service Number



Rupert Pierce Morral Williams

Born at

Gladstone, Queensland


24 years 1 month as at 9 May 1917 [Actual DOB 2 Apr 1893]

Trade or Calling

Engine Driver

Marital Status

Married with one child

Next of Kin

Wife - Mrs Agnes Williams
Kareewa, POMONA, QLD

Previous Military Service


Attested at

Rifle Range, Brisbane, Qld

Date of Enlistment

9 May 1917


5 foot 5 inches [165cm]


120 pounds [544.5Kg]


32½ - 37inches [82.5 - 94cm]







Religious Denomination


Distinguishing Marks



11th Reinforcements to 4th Pioneer Battalion

Chronological Events






Enlisted, allocated to 11th Reinforcements for 4th Pioneer Battalion (4 Pnr Bn).

9 May 1917


Undergoing training, probably initially at Enoggera and subsequently at Liverpool in Sydney

4 Mar 1917-
30 Apr 1915


Embarked from Sydney on Her Majesty's Army Transport (HMAT) "MEDIC.

1 Aug 1917


Transferred to SS "ORISSA HALIFAX" (A7), at Halifax, Nova Scotia

21 Sep 1917


Disembarked at Liverpool UK.

3 Oct 1917


Marched in from Australia to Pioneer Training Battalion (Pnr Trg Bn) at Fovant

3 Oct 1917


CRIME - Absent Without Leave from midnight 30 Apr 1918 to 2200 on 1 May 1918.
AWARD - Admonished by Major H. Morrison, forfeit on days pay..

1 May 1918


Admitted to Military Hospital, Sutton Vesey with Influenza

23 Jun 1918


Discharged from Hospital and rejoins Training Depot

1 Jul 1918


Marched out from Pioneer Training Battalion to No 2 Command Depot (Weymouth), Medical Class C1

31 Jul 1918


Marched out to Tidworth for Duty, Class C1

14 Oct 1918


Attached for Duty at Tidworth from 4th Pioneers at Weymouth

14 Oct 1918


Marched in from Tidworth to No 1 Command Depot, Weymouth for return to Australia

17 Dec 1918


Embarked on HMAT "EURIPIDES" (A14) for return to Australia

3 Mar 1919


Disembarks 1st Military District (Queensland)

1 May 1919


Discharged from Army

24 May 1919

Repatriation Department Queensland requests documents as a claim has been lodged for repatriation benefits. the late Lance Corporal R.G. Williams, 5th Light Horse Regiment was buried in the Beersheba Military Cemetery, Palestine.

12 May 1961

Medals and Dress Embellishments

British War Medal 1914-1920, no Wound Stripes, two Long Service Stripes and three Overseas Service Chevron. No entitlement to Victory Medal as did not serve in a War Zone. Use the hyperlinks or scroll down to see further information on the badges.

Other Accoutrements

World War One medal set

L to R - 1914-15 Star, War Medal 1914-1920, Victory Medal

Unit Shoulder Patch
4th Pioneer Battalion

Rising Sun Badge - 1st and 2nd AIF

Not entitled to wear
ANZAC 'A' on Shoulder Patch

Some Government Issued Badges

Nearest Female
Relative Badge

War Widows
Guild Brooch

Silver War Badge

Discharged Returned
Soldier Badge

Government issued badge in enamel
and sterling silver issued to the wife,
mother or nearest female relative of
a serving soldier. Additional bars
were suspended below for further

Membership badge of a Kookaburra
in sterling silver, issued by the
Government to the widows of men
who lost their lives due to their
service. Numbered on the reverse.

Awarded to service personnel who
sustained a wound, or contracted
sickness of disability in the course
of the war as a result of which
they were invalided out, or to
soldiers who had retired during
the course of the war.

First issued in 1916. Slight variations are indicative of a number of makers. 267,300 were issued. Numbered on the reverse but the numbers have no link with length of service or Service Number.

[Badge information collated from Australian War Memorial, "Australians Awarded" by Clive Johnson and en.wikipedia.com]

4th Pioneer Battalion

Each Division was allocated a Pioneer Battalion. The 4th Pioneers were the Pioneer Battalion of the 4th Division as indicated by the circular colour patch.

The 4th Pioneers were raised as part of the re-orgnaisation of the AIF that took place in Egypt after Gallipoli and prior to deployment to the Western Front. They were enagegd in every action undertaken by the 4th Division, starting at Pozieres and Mouquet Farm in mid 1916 through Bullecourt, Messines and Third Ypres in 1917, the stemming of the German tide in the Spring Offensive of 1918 most notably near Hebuterne and Dernancourt and culminating in the Hundred Days campaign in late 1918.

Pioneer Battalions were essentially light military combat engineers organised like the infantry and located at the very forward edge of the battle area. They were used to develop and enhance protection and mobility for supported troops and to deny it to the enemy. They constructed defensive positions, command posts and dugouts, prepared barbed wire defences and on occasion breached those of the enemy using devices like the Bangalore Torpedo.

Their skills and capability were broad; from building, construction and maintenance to road and track preparation and maintenance. They could also, and did quite often, fight as infantry.

Originally an innovation developed in the Indian Army before 1914, pioneer battalions were used on a large scale by Commonwealth forces on the Western Front during the First World War. Because of its largely static nature, there was a much heavier reliance on field defences and the provision of mobility support to get people, weapons, ammunition, rations and stores up to the front and casualties out. Roads and railways needed to be built, maintained and repaired. Engineers alone could not meet the heavy demand, while riflemen were always needed at the front. Therefore, pioneer battalions were raised to meet the needs of both and trained to support engineers and infantry.

Battle Honours:

No Battle Honours were awarded, because the concept of Pioneer Battalions was removed. While some of the Pioneers were employed within concept as both light infantry and engineers, others were almost exclusively employed in the engineer role (arguably negating the need for infantry training) and some almost exclusively as infantry. The time necessary to train troops in both roles made training much longer (see the time scaless above) and reinforcement slow.


The brass letter 'A' to represent service related to Gallipoli (ANZAC) was authorised to be worn 'over unit colour patches on both sleeves of the service dress jacket and greatcoat" by Military Order 354 of 18 Aug 17 and AIF Order 937 of 6 Nov 17, as amended in terms of qualification by Military Order 20 of 19 Jan 18 and by AIF Order 1084 of 25 Jan 18.

The size of the letter 'A', introduced as one inch in height (AIF Order 994 of 30 Nov 17), was reduced to three-quarters of an inch by AIF Order 1012 of 11 Dec 17.

Provision for wearing the brass letter 'A' was also included in General Routine Order 0.815 of 17 Dec 43 and GRO 310 of 7 Dec 45.


Wound Stripe

Army Order No.204 Headquarters, 1st A.N.Z.A.C., 9th August, 1916. (slightly amended for layout)

Wound Stripes

The following distinction in dress will be worn on the service dress jacket by all officers and soldiers who have been wounded in any of the campaigns since 4th August 1914 :

  • Stripes of gold Russia braid No.1, two inches [2.5cm] in length sewn perpendicularly on the left forearm sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion on which wounded.

  • In the case of officers, the lower end of the first strip of gold braid will be immediately above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men will wear the gold braid on the left forearm sleeve, the lower edge of the braid to be three inches from the bottom of the sleeve.

  • Subsequent occasions on which wounded, will be placed on either side of the original one at half inch interval.

  • Gold braid and sews will be obtained free on indent from the Army Ordnance Department; the sewing on will be carried out regimentally without expense to the public.

Long Service Badges

A.I.F. ORDER No.470, 24 January 1917 (slightly amended for layout)

The question of the issue of a badge to members of the AIF who have completed a certain period of service has received consideration, and approval has been given for the issue of a badge for long service combined with good conduct, subject to the following conditions.

  • The badge will consist of an inverted single chevron of service braid to be worn on the left forearm - the point of the chevron to be 3 inches [7.6cm] above the edge of the cuff.

  • Warrant and non-commissioned officers and men, will be eligible for the badge, which will not carry an increased pay or allowance.

  • One chevron will be worn for each complete year's service in the Australian Imperial Force from the date of embarkation in Australia.

  • No badge will be issued to any man who, during the 12 months, has incurred a regimental entry (i.e. an entry involving forfeiture of pay) in his sheet.

  • Time absent from the unit in hospital or elsewhere on account of wounds or sickness, not the result of misconduct, will count as service towards earning the badge.

  • A man in possession of a badge will forfeit same on being convicted of any offence involving a forfeiture of pay , but will be eligible to regain the badge after 6 months good conduct, from the date of forfeiture.

  • The illegal wearing of this badge will be a crime under A.A. Section 40.

Overseas Service Chevrons

[Image from http://www.diggerhistory.info]

Australian Imperial Force Order No.1053, January 1918 (Slightly amended for layout)

His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of chevrons to denote service overseas since the 4th August 1914.

  • Chevrons of two colours have been approved.

    • The first chevron if earned on or before 31st December 1914, will be red.

    • If earned on or after 1st January 1915, it will be blue.

    • All additional chevrons after the first will be blue.

  • The chevrons will be worsted embroidery, 1/4 inch [0.63cm] in width, the arms 4 inches [10.2cm] long. They will be worn inverted on the right forearm:

  • In the case of officers, the apex of the lowest chevron will be 1 inch [2.5cm] above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • In the case of warrant-officers, non-commissioned officers and men, the apex of the lowest chevron will be midway between the seams and four inches [10.2cm] above the bottom edge of the sleeve.

  • The red chevron will be worn below the blue one. They will not be worn on greatcoats.

  • In the case of Australians, the first chevron was earned the date the individual left Australia. Additional chevrons were awarded for each successive aggregate period of 12 months service outside Australia.