5582 Private William Charles Gibson WIA**
20th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Division
1st Australian Imperial Force 1914-1919

This file last updated 5 September, 2018 15:40


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The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War One service record of William Charles Gibson.

Note that some of the service record entries may be duplicated, reflecting different reporting streams for various administrative elements. Some pages may also be duplicated, reflecting the amalgamation of unit and hedquarter records on finalisation of service.

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

Prepared for Robert Clifford "Bomber" Gibson, Vietnam veteran and great-nephew of William Gibson by Clive Mitchell-Taylor - 10 Jul 2018.

John Barnes Evans, great uncle of Margaret Anne Wine, and Albert Edward Mitchell, grandfather of Clive Mitchell-Taylor also served in the 20th Battalion.

View William Gibson's Service record.

Enlistment Details

Service Number



William Charles Gibson

Born at

Bodangra near Wellington NSW


19 years 9 months (Birth dates not recorded, only age on enlistment)

Trade or Calling


Marital Status


Next of Kin

Mother, Ada Gibson, Morgan Street North Dubbo, NSW
Later amended to Father, David Gibson of the same address

Previous Military Service


Attested at

Dubbo, NSW

Date of Enlistment

19 Mar 1916


5 foot 8½ inches [174 cm]


132 pounds [9 stone 6 pounds or 60 Kg]


33½ - 36 inches [85 cm - 91.5 cm]




Dark Brown

Identifying Marks

Scar on right side of stomach

Religious Denomination

Church of England


20th Battalion, 5th Brigade

Chronological Events







19 Mar 1916


Assigned to B Company at Dubbo

24 Mar 1916


Completed initial training at Dubbo

17 Apr 1916


Embarked from Sydney on HMAT "EURIPIDES" (A14) for overseas

9 Sep 1916


Disembarked Plymouth

26 Oct 1916


Taken on Strength 15th Reinforcements, assigned to 5th Training Battalion Folkstone

17 Dec 1916

5th Training Battalion formed at Rolleston in Aug 1916


Proceeded overseas to France per "PRINCESS HENRIETTA"

13 Dec 1916


Marched in to 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot (2 ADBD)

14 Dec 1916






Marched out to Unit from 2 ADBD and taken on strength (TOS) by 20th Battalion

17 Dec 1916


To 6th Australian Field Ambulance (7 AFA), sick (trench foot) and transferred to 7 AFA

6 Mar 1917



To rejoin Battalion from hospital

28 Mar 1917


Wounded in Action, Gunshot wounds (GSW) to right shoulder and right knee

2 May 1917

Originally reported as shrapnel wounds


To 6 AFA then 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station (3 ACCS)

2 May 1917


Admitted to Ambulance Train

3 May 1917

Not an actual train, but a (variable) process of assigning priorities and clearing casualties back to England or any other appropriate destination.


Invalided to England and admitted to 9th General Hospital at Oxford, via Rouen. Base Records Office Melbourne sends cable to family, REPORTED PRIVATE WILLIAM GIBSON WOUNDED WILL ADVISE ANYTHING FURTHER RECEIVED.

24 May 1917

Misfiled document concerning pensions payable to 1056 Lance Corporal Norman Lewis Francis of 22nd Battaion and members of his family

27 May 1917


Leter from Mrs Ada Gibson to the Officer in Charge, Base Records Office, Melbourne.
'In receipt of a Cable from your Officer on the 24th of May stating my son William Charles Gibson was wounded having heard nothing since. Could you possibly let me know where he is, and tbe name of the Hospital and how he is. Sir's you may oblige a very enxious mother,
I remain yours respectfully, Mrs A Gibson

6 Jun 1917


Base Records Office advises the family that 5582 Private W.C. Gibson was admitted to the 3rd Southern General Hospital on 26 May 1917 suffering from gunshot wound right shoulder and right knee.

7 Jun 1917

These two letters must have crossed in the mail


Transferred to 3rd Stationary General Hospital, Dartford

23 Jun 1917


Tranferred to 3rd Auxilliary Hospital for furlough

25 Jun 1917

Remainder of the entry indecipherable


Returned from furlough and classified B2A

9 Jul 1917


March out to E Group (?) Durrington

30 Jul 1917



Attached to 10th Training Battalion ex 20th Battalion for duty

20 Jul 1917


Classified PB

8 Aug 1917

Permanently Unfit (Class B) (?)


Neglect to obey Routine Orders in that he was in Shaftsbury about 5:45pm 5 Dec 1917 without a pass.
Forfeit 3 days pay

5 Dec 1917


March in to 9th Training Battalion from 10th Training Battalion

30 Mar 1918


Admitted with veneral disease (VD) to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital (1 ADH)

3 Jul 1918


Discharged from Hospital, march in to 9th Training Battalion

9 Jul 1918


March out to 5th Training Battalion

2 Aug 1918


Proceeded overseas to France

15 Aug 1918


Marched in to Australian Infantry Base Depot (AIBD)

18 Aug 1918


Marched out to Unit

18 Aug 1918


Rejoined 20th Battalion from hospital

20 Aug 1918


Wounded in Action, gunshot wound (GSW) to neck, admitted to 9th Australian Field Ambulance (9 AFA) and transferred to 61st Casualty Clearing Station (61 CCS)

31 Aug 1918


Transferred to Ambulance Train 22 (22 AT)

1 Sep 1918


Transferred to England

3 Sep 1918


Admitted to War Hospital, Exeter

4 Sep 1918


Base Records Office (Melbourne) advises the family that he was admitted to the War Hospital, Spittal, England on 7 Sep 1918 suffering from a mild (!) gunshot wound to the neck.

16 Sep 1918


Admitted to 1 ADH, Bulford

28 Oct 1918


Discharged to Convalescence Training Depot (CTD) Parkhouse

26 Dec 1918


Returned to Australia per HMAT "ASCANIUS" (A11)

4 Apr 1919


Discharged medically unfit

12 May 1919

Medals and Dress Embellishments

British War Medal 1914-1920, Victory Medal, two Wound Stripes for 2 May 1917 and 31 Aug 1918, three Long Service Stripes, three Overseas Service Chevrons. 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
20th Infantry Battalion
20<sup>th</sup> Battalion Should Patch

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]

Background - Infantry Battalions

[Based on information at www.aif.adfa.edu.au]

The 1914 infantry battalion was a large unit, composed of eight rifle companies each of 3 officers and 116 other ranks armed with Short Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in rifles, a small headquarters with 4 officers and 21 other ranks and a machine gun section with two .303in Maxim machine guns, one officer and 17 other ranks, a total of 32 officers and 991 other ranks.

In December 1914, battalions were reorganised into four companies each of four platoons, but strength was unchanged.

By mid 1918, the number of officers had increased to 38 but the number of other ranks had declined to 900. At the same time, the firepower of the battalion was greatly augmented with hand and rifle grenades and Lewis Guns, of which there was 34 per battalion.

[Based on information at www.aif.adfa.edu.au and Redcoats to Cams, Ian Kuring]

20th Battalion, 5th Brigade, 2nd Divison

[Information from https://rslvirtualwarmemorial.org.au]

The 20th Battalion was raised at Liverpool in New South Wales in March 1915 as part of the 5th Brigade. A sprinkling of the 20th's original recruits had already served with the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) in the operations to capture German New Guinea in 1914. The 20th left Australia in late June, trained in Egypt from late July until mid-August, and on 22 August landed at ANZAC Cove.

Arriving at Gallipoli just as the August offensive petered out, the 20th's role there was purely defensive. From 26 August, until its withdrawal from the peninsula on 20 December, the 20th Battalion was responsible for the defence of Russell's Top.

After further training in Egypt, the 20th Battalion proceeded to France. It entered the trenches of the Western Front for the first time in April 1916 and in the following month had the dubious honour of being the first Australian battalion to be raided by the Germans. The 20th took part in its first major offensive around Pozieres between late July and the end of August 1916. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the 2nd Division, which included the5th Brigade, came south again in October. The 20th Battalion provided reinforcements for the attack near Flers between 14 and 16 November, launched in conditions that Charles Bean described as the worst ever encountered by the AIF.

In 1917, the 20th was involved in the follow-up of German forces after their retreat to the Hindenburg Line, and was one of four battalions to defeat a counter- stroke by a German force, almost five times as strong, at Lagnicourt. The Battalion took part in three major battles before the year was out, second Bullecourt (3-4 May) in France, and Menin Road (20-22 September) and Poelcappelle (9-10 October) in Belgium.

The spring of 1918 brought a major German offensive. The 20th Battalion was one of many Australian battalions rushed to stop it, and it encountered some particularly severe fighting when ordered to attack at Hangard Wood on 7 April. With the German Army's last desperate offensive defeated, the 20th participated in the battles that pushed it ever closer to defeat: Amiens on 8 August, the legendary attack on Mont St Quentin on 31 August, and the forcing of the Beaurevoir Line around Montbrehain on 3 October. Montbrehain was the battalion's last battle of the war. It was disbanded on 20 April 1919.

Battle Honours:

Somme 1916-18, Pozieres, Bapaume 1917, Bullecourt, Ypres 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodeseinde, Poelcappelle, Passchendaele, Hamel, Amiens, Albert 1918, Mont St Quentin, Hindenburg Line, Beaurevoir, France and Flanders 1916-18, Suvla, Gallipoli 1915, Egypt 1915-16


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.