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

This file last updated 24 October, 2018 3:11

Introduction

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.

Some of the service record pages may be duplicated. This generally occurs when the unit and Army records are amalgamated on discharge or death in Service.

Service numbers were allocated by the original unit, and are not unique to the individual. Where an individual is transferred into another unit, duplicating an existing number, the transferee is given an alphabetic suffix, eg 1234A. Officers did not have Army numbers, and if commissioned from the ranks, relinquished their number on commissioning.

Prepared for Jack Lester by Clive Mitchell-Taylor, 19 Aug 2018. View Rupert Willams' Service record, or WW1 Nominal Roll entry, or a very brief entry on the a href="https://vwma.org.au/explore/people/145917"> RSL Virtual War Memorial.


Enlistment Details

Service Number

4145

Name

Rupert Pierce Morral Williams

Born at

Gladstone, Queensland

Age

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

No

Attested at

Rifle Range, Brisbane, Qld

Date of Enlistment

9 May 1917

Height

5 foot 5 inches [165cm]

Weight

120 pounds [544.5Kg]

Chest

32½ - 37inches [82.5 - 94cm]

Complexion

Medium

Eyes

Brown

Hair

Brown

Religious Denomination

Methodist

Distinguishing Marks

None

Units

11th Reinforcements to 4th Pioneer Battalion


Chronological Events

Rank

Description

Date

Remarks

Private

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

9 May 1917

Private

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

4 Mar 1917-
30 Apr 1915

Private

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

1 Aug 1917

Private

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

21 Sep 1917

Private

Disembarked at Liverpool UK.

3 Oct 1917

Private

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

3 Oct 1917

Private

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

Private

Admitted to Military Hospital, Sutton Vesey with Influenza

23 Jun 1918

Private

Discharged from Hospital and rejoins Training Depot

1 Jul 1918

Private

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

31 Jul 1918

Private

Marched out to Tidworth for Duty, Class C1

14 Oct 1918

Private

Attached for Duty at Tidworth from 4th Pioneers at Weymouth

14 Oct 1918

Private

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

17 Dec 1918

Private

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

3 Mar 1919

Private

Disembarks 1st Military District (Queensland)

1 May 1919

Private

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 entitlement to 1914-15 Star or Victory Medal as enlisted after 1915 and did not serve in a War Zone.

No Wound Stripes,

Two Long Service Stripes and three Overseas Service Chevrons.

Use the hyperlinks or scroll down to see further information on the badges.


4th Pioneer Battalion

Unit Shoulder Patch 4th Pioneer Battalion


Not entitled to wear ANZAC 'A'

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.

Rifle, Short Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in, Mark III
Rifle, Small Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in, Mark III with sword bayonet

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.


1914-15 Star

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]
1914-15 Star

The decoration consists of a four-pointed star in bright bronze as shown, with the date 1914-15 on the central scroll. The reverse is plain, and is stamped with the name and unit of the recipient. The ribbon is red, white and blue, shaded and watered, worn with the red nearest the centre of the breast. It is atached to the medal through a ring.

It is similar in shape and description to the 1914 Star, to which few, if any, Australians were entitled.

The decoration, sanctioned in 1918, was issued "to all officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the British, Dominion, Colonial and Indian Forces, including civilian medical practitioners, nursing sisters, nurses and others eployed with military hospitals, who actually served on the establishment of a unit in a theatre of war as defined in Appendix 'A'. Individuals in possession of the 1914 Star will not be eligible for the award of this decoration."

Appendix 'A' included the Western, Eastern, Egyptian, African, Asiatic and Australasian Theatres of war, with commencement dates individual to countries and campaigns.


British War Medal 1940-20

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]
British War Medal

This medal was approved by King George V in 19 19 to record the bringing of the war to a successful conclusion and the arduous services rendered by His Majesty's Forces.

The medal, which is supended from its ribbon by means of a straight clasp, without swivel, bears on the obverse the effigy of His Majesty - exactly similar to that on a half-crown - with the legend 'Georgivus V : Omn : Rex et Ind : Imp'.

The reverse bears a design which represents St George on horseback, trampling underfoot the eagle shield of the central powers and a skull and crossbones, the emblems of death. Overhead is the risen sun of victory. The male figure, rather than a symbolical female one, was chosen because man had borne the brunt of the fighting. The figure was mounted on horseback as symbolical of man's mind controlling force (represented by the horse) of far greater strength than his own. The design is thus also symbolical of the mechanical and scientific appliances which helped so largely to win the war.

The ribbon has a orange watered centre with stripes of white and black at each side and with borders of royal blue. It is stated that the colours have no particular signification.


The Rising Sun Badge

This version of the Rising Sun Badge was worn by soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Forces, and the badge has become an integral part of the Digger tradition.

Worn on the the upturned brim of the slouch hat, it is readily identified with thespirit of ANZAC.

There are a number of versions of the genesis of the badge, the most widely acceptedbeing that it derived from a Trophy of Arms - various swords and bayonets mounted ona semi-circular display in Victoria Barracks, Melbourne.

The original version worn in South Africa was modified in 1904 and worn by Australian soldiers through two World Wars.

Later changes were made to the style of the crown and the wording on the scroll. The "King's Crown" is the one shown to the left, while arches of the "Queen's Crown" rise at the same angle as the base of the crown, curve at their highest point to a level mid-way on the orb below the cross and then down to below the orb.

In 1949 the scroll was changed to read "Australian Military Forces".

In 1969 the badge was modified to incorporate the 7-pointed Federation Star with a central Queen's crown over the Torse wreath (a twisted roll of fabric) from the original 1902 version, and the scroll wording changed to "Australia".

In the 75th anniversary year of the the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, there was a drive to return to traditional accoutrements worn by Australian soldiers during the World Wars, which clearly identify the Australian Army. The Queen's crown returned to its central position and the scroll now reads "The Australian Army'.


Victory Medal

[Extract from Ribbons and Medals: Naval, Military, Air Force and Civil, Captain H. Taprell Dorling, DSO RN,
George Philip & Son, 33 Fleet Street, London EC4, 1940]

This medal, of bronze, bears on the obverse a winged figure of Victory, full length in the middle of the medal and full face; the borders and the backgound plain, without either incription or date. On the reverse is an inscription. "The Great War for Civilization." and either the names of the different Allied and Associated Powers, or their coats of arms.

The rim is plain, and the medal hangs from a ring. The ribbon is red in the centre, with green and violet on either side shaded to form the colours of two rainbows.

It has also been approved that any officer or man who has been "mentioned in despatches" shall wear a small bronze oak leaf on the ribbon of this medal. Only one oak leaf is so worn, no matter how many "mentions" the wearer may have received.

The medal is designed to obviate the exchange of Allied Commemorative war medals, and is issued only to those who actually served on the establishment of a unit or ship in a theatre of war. [This is an important distinction, as those Australians who served only in Australia, or only in Australia and England, were not entitled to the award.]


The Rising Sun Badge

This version of the Rising Sun Badge was worn by soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Forces, and the badge has become an integral part of the Digger tradition.

Worn on the the upturned brim of the slouch hat, it is readily identified with thespirit of ANZAC.

There are a number of versions of the genesis of the badge, the most widely acceptedbeing that it derived from a Trophy of Arms - various swords and bayonets mounted ona semi-circular display in Victoria Barracks, Melbourne.

The original version worn in South Africa was modified in 1904 and worn by Australian soldiers through two World Wars.

Later changes were made to the style of the crown and the wording on the scroll. The "King's Crown" is the one shown to the left, while arches of the "Queen's Crown" rise at the same angle as the base of the crown, curve at their highest point to a level mid-way on the orb below the cross and then down to below the orb.

In 1949 the scroll was changed to read "Australian Military Forces".

In 1969 the badge was modified to incorporate the 7-pointed Federation Star with a central Queen's crown over the Torse wreath (a twisted roll of fabric) from the original 1902 version, and the scroll wording changed to "Australia".

In the 75th anniversary year of the the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, there was a drive to return to traditional accoutrements worn by Australian soldiers during the World Wars, which clearly identify the Australian Army. The Queen's crown returned to its central position and the scroll now reads "The Australian Army'.


Wound Stripe

Army Order No.204 Headquarters, 1st A.N.Z.A.C., 9th August, 1916. (slightly amended for layout)
DISTINCTIONS FOR OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS WHO HAVE BEEN WOUNDED

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 :


Long Service Badges

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


Overseas Service Chevrons

[http://au.geocities.com/fortysecondbattalion/level2/reference/01nos-standards.htm]
[Image from http://www.diggerhistory.info]

Overseas Service Chevrons

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.


Some Government Issued Badges

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

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.