3607 Private William Thomas Lambert
47th Battalion,
12th Brigade,
4th Division
1st Australian Imperial Force

This file last updated 1 September, 2023 16:35


Picture - if available

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the service record of William Thomas Lambert, elder brother of Roy Harold Lambert. The record is again sparse or non-exitant, in respect of training in Australia, embarkation, disembarkation NS training in Egypt. Some of the gaps can be filled in from other documents, but not all.

William was originally allotted, together with his brother, to the 11th Reinforcements to the 15th Battalion, but only served with that unit for a matter of days before being hospitalised in Egypt and on discharge was transferred to the 47th Battalion which was being raised in Egypt. I have therefore relied on the history of the 47th rather than the 15th.

This biography prepared for Peter Taylor by Clive Mitchell-Taylor (no relation) - 17 Sep 2018. See also the record for Roy Harold Lambert, his younger brother, who enlisted on the same day.

View William Lambert's Service Record, Embarkation Roll entry, List of 11th Reinforcements with Embarkation Details List of 11th Reinforcements to 15th Battalion and WW1 Nominal Roll entry.

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Abbreviations or acronyms which have a dotted underline can be expanded by moving the cursor over the term - e.g. WIA. The cursor will be replaced by ? and the expanded abbreviation will be displayed. This is gradually being incorporated into the site, replacing the the current expansion of abbreviations. There may be a discernable delay of about a second before the expansion is first provided.

There is also a separate list of abbreviations which is available through the menu at the top of this page or the hyperlink here.  Abbreviations are inconsistent, even within a single occurence where a term is abbreviated.

There are a number of sources for tracing abbreviations used in Australian and New Zealand service records. Those used when operating with the British or US forces can generally be found, especially in World War 1. Abbreviations used solely within Australia in WW2 are most difficult to trace, particularly when they are regional. Sometimes a 'best guess' is the only answer.

Duplicated Pages

Some of the service information may appear to be duplicated although individual occurrences are not in the same order and different abbreviations used. This occurs when the unit and Army records are amalgamated upon discharge or death in Service.

Service Numbers

Service numbers in WW1 were unique to the unit (e.g. Battalion) or Corps (e.g. Artillery). In WW2 Service Numbers were unique to the State in which they were allotted. For further information about identity numbers for Service personnel, see Regimental and Service Numbers

Dates of Occurrence and Reporting

The date of reporting an incident may be hours, days or months after the date on which incident actually occurred.

The original service record is amended only when the incident is reported which means that events are not necessarily recorded in in strict chronological sequence. This is the date shown on the left of the page of the original record, and also on the left in my transcription but readers should note that at times there may be no date of reporting at all, particularly when service personel are repatriated for discharge at the end of hostilities.

To assist the reader, when transcribing the military record I have done my best to record events in their chronological sequence. This is date is on the right of the page of the original record and also on the right in my transcription.

For clarity I have transcribed all dates into the format d MMM yyyy.

Enlistment Details

Service Number



William Thomas Lambert

Born at

Weldborough, [north-east] Tasmania


23 years and 5 months at time of enlistment
[actual birth dates are not recorded, but it was 19 Mar 1981]

Trade or Calling




Marital Status


Next of Kin

Mother - Mrs Jessie Eliza Lambert, Weldborough, Tasmania

Ever convicted by the Civil Power


Previous Military Service


Attested at

Claremont, Tasmania

Date of Enlistment

18 Aug 1915


5 foot 5 inches [165 cm]


10 stone [140 pounds or 63.6 Kg]


35 - 37 inches [89 - 94 cm]




Dark Brown

Religious Denomination

Church of England


11th Reinforcements to

15th Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st New Zealand and Australian Division
[15th Battalion & 4th Brigade later reassigned to the 4th Australian Division]
47th Battalion, 12th Brigade, 4th Division

Chronological Events

Rank Description Date Remarks



18 Aug 1915

There is no record of his initial training, or any other detail until 1916


Allotted to 11th Reinforcements to 15th Battalion.
Embarked from Melbourne, Australia for Middle East on His Majesty's Army Transport "ULYSSES" (A38)

27 Oct 1915

Detail obtained from UNSW AIF Project.


Taken on Strength, No 2 Depot Battalion.

9 Mar 1916

Training Unit


Sick to hospital, Tel el Kebir, mumps

19 Mar 1916

No 2 Australian Stationary Hospital


Admitted to No 2 Auxiliary Hospital Abbassia, Egypt, mumps

26 Mar 1916


Discharged to duty

29 Mar 1916


Transferred to 47th Battalion, 12th Brigade, 4th Division and Taken on Strength

20 Apr 1916


Proceeded to join British Expeditionary Force (BEF) Alexandria

2 Jun 1916



Disembarked at Marseilles

8 Jun 1916



Disembarked Marseilles

9 Jun 1916


To hospital, sick, bronchitis

3 Feb 1917



To 1st Southern Hospital from Casualty Clearing Station (CCS)

11 Feb 1917

This entry appears to refer to William's final destination, rather than the transitional destinations, as 1st Southern is in Birmingham, England


To 12th General Hospital, Rouen

12 Feb 1917



Embarked on Hospital ship "ST GEORGE" at Rouen, for England, bronchitis

27 Feb 1917


Admitted 1st Southern General Hospital

19 Oct 1916



Marched out to No 3 Command Depot, Hurdecott, from Wareham and taken on strength at No 3 CD

29 Mar 1917


Medical Board, classified B1a3 - Fit for overseas training camp in two to three weeks

1 Apr 1917



Marched out to Draft Depot

8 May 1917



Proceeded overseas to France, via Southampton, from Hurdecott

29 Jun 1917

Furlough granted for the period 14 Mar 1917 - 29 Mar 1917


Offence - Out of bounds
Award - Forfeit 2 days pay

4 Jul 1917


March in to 4th Australian Division Base Depot (4 ADBD)

7 Jul 1917



Transferred to England

13 Jul 1917



Marched in to No 3 Command Depot, Weymouth, from Francce

14 Jul 1917



Medical Board, reclassified to B2a

4 Jul 1917

Fit for light duties only.


Embarked from England to Australia, per HMAT "ARGYLLSHIRE" (A8)

1 Mar 18

There is no indicaion of employment for the eight months between 4 Jul 1917 and 1 Mar 1918


Offence - South Africa, absent at time of sailing, leave having expired, placed under close arrest awaiting Trial

20 Mar 1918



Offence - At Capetown, Neglecting to Obey Orders, Absent without leave from 11 pm 20 Mar 1918, Reporting at the Castle (AIF HQ South Africa) 12 midnight 21 Mar 1918

23 Mar 1918



Embarked at Capetown for Australia per "LLANSTEPHAN"

23 Mar 1918



Award (aboard ship, see offences above), 168 hours (one week) detention, forfeit 28 days pay, forfeit 2 days pay whilst absent, total forfeiture 30 days pay.

24 Mar



Discharged from the Service

15 Jun 1918

'Ex "Caterley"' (probably for the journey from Melbourne to Tasmania)


Signs receipt for 1914-15 Star

17 Sep 1920


Signs receipt for British War Medal

21 Jul 1921



Signs receipt for Victory Medal

13 Nov 1922

Medals, Dress Embellishments and Other Accoutrements

1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-1920, Victory Medal.

No Wound Stripes.

Not entitled to wear ANZAC A on unit shoulder patch.

three Long Service Stripes and four Overseas Service Chevrons.

Use the hyperlinks or scroll down past unit information to see further detail about these items, Hat/Cap badges, Unit Colour Patches etc.

Background - Infantry Battalions

[Based on information in Redcoats to Cams, Ian Kuring.]

In December 1914, battalions of about 1000 men were organised into eight companies each divided into half of 60 men and then into two sections of around 30 men. Command was highly centralised with companies commanded by a Captain, half-companies by Lieutentants and sections by a Sergeant.

In early 1915 Australia reduced the number of Companies to four, but doubled their size to more than 220 men. Each rifle company had a headquarters and four platoons. Each platoon had a headquarters and four rifle sections of 10 men commanded by corporals.

From early 1916 light machineguns replaced medium machine guns and were eventually issued to each rifle platoon.

During 1917 rifle platoons were reorganised to have a light machine gun section, a rifle grenade section, a hand grenade/bombing section and a rifle assault section.

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.

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

47th Battalion, 12th Brigade, 4th Division

[Information from AWM unit summary and RSL Virtual War Memorial]
Shoulder Patch, 47th Battalion

The 47th Battalion was raised in Egypt on 24 February 1916 as part of the "doubling" of the AIF. Approximately half of its new recruits were Gallipoli veterans from the 15th Battalion, and the other half, fresh reinforcements from Australia. Reflecting the composition of the 15th, the new battalion was composed mostly of men recruited in Queensland and Tasmania. The new battalion was incorporated into the 12th Brigade of the Australian Division.

Arriving in France on 9 June 1916, the 47th entered the trenches of the Western Front for the first time on 3 July. It participated in its first major battle at Pozieres. Initially, the battalion provided working parties during the 2nd Division's attack on 4 August, and then, with its own division, defended the ground that had been captured. The 47th endured two stints in the heavily-contested trenches of Pozieres, as well as a period in reserve.

After Pozieres, the battalion spent the period up until March 1917 alternating between duty in the trenches and training and rest behind the lines. On 11 April it took part in the attack mounted against the heavily defended village of Bullecourt - part of the formidable Hindenburg Line to which the Germans had retreated during February and March. Devoid of surprise, and dependent upon the support of unreliable tanks, the attack failed. Later in the year, the focus of the AIF's operations switched to the Ypres sector in Belgium where the 47th took part in the battles of Messines and Passchendaele.

The 47th rotated in and out of the front line throughout the winter of 1917-18. In the spring of 1918, it played a role in turning the great German Spring Offensive by defeating attacks around Dernancourt during the last days of March and the first days of April 1918. One of the battalion's actions at Dernancourt is depicted in a diorama at the Australian War Memorial. For his valorous actions at Dernancourt Sergeant Stanley MacDougall was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The defeat of the German offensive had come at a cost though. Due to heavy casualties and a lack of reinforcements from Australia, three brigades were directed to disband one of their battalions to reinforce the other three. The 12th Brigade was one of these, and on 31 May 1918 the 47th Battalion was disbanded.

Battle Honours

Somme 1916, Poziéres, Bullecourt, Messines 1917, Ypres 1917, Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Paschendaele, Ancre 1918, France and Flanders 1916-18, Egypt 1916.

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 1914-20

[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 1919 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.

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 the spirit of ANZAC.

There are a number of versions of the genesis of the badge, the most widely accepted being that it derived from a Trophy of Arms - various swords and bayonets mounted on a 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'.



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)

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.

Wound Stripes

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.

    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]

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.

    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.

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 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 withlength of service or Service Number.

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