His service record (74 pages) can be downloaded. Click on View Digital Copy top right. He enlisted on 1 March 1915 and his occupation was a labourer, He had trained as a barber for a year. He was 5 ft 5 and a half inches tall, had dark hair and eyes. He had been wounded three times previously, shot in the head, ear and leg. . After one of these hospital stays in England he was on furlough in January 1017 which is probably when he visited Cumnock. He served first in the Dardanelles and then France. He was promoted to Corporal on 5th June 1917. He was badly wounded on 1st April with gunshot would to thighs causing a fracture and arm and back in Belgium. He died at the 5th Australian Field Ambulance the following day. (This doesn't quite tally with the newspaper report above). There is correspondence with his mother regarding his medals and war grave. All very sad reading.
Update 22 April 2018: The family in Australia has been in contact and have been to his graveside on the centenary of his death.
Great great grand nephew Malcolm Maurer writes:
Last night as we arrived in Brisbane, soil from William's grave was declared and treated with nothing less than honour and respect by Australian Customs.
In France Rod, Vanessa and I joined Meredith and Erin, touring the Western Front as we prepared for the 100th anniversary of William's death.
Nothing could prepare me for the overwhelming emotion of the magnitude of sacrifices for our freedom.
Walking through fields in No Man's Land and finding live ammunition and items of war 100 years after thousands of men on both sides died in so many fields.
We walked as close as possible the final steps of William, as we made our way to his grave. Locating the clearing station that he was treated in before he died.
Arriving at Pont-D'Achelles Military Cemetery, I new where William was as I walked up the steps entering the cemetery.
I walked every row reading each name, then I stopped, paused and continued as I read William's headstone. Returning to his grave once I read each headstone.
Family from Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth honoured William's sacrifice in a private family service.
Given to us by our tour guide, I read the attached for the first time at his grave.
As each family member removed soil from his grave, we replaced it with flowering plants including a poppy.
A small gesture to reunite a mother and son, the soil will be interned into his mother's grave at a later date.
It was overwhelming knowing that in spirit he was home in Australia.
We will remember.
Previously the plan to visit was published in the Cumnock Chronicle in May 2017 in which we get a mention.