The AIF Project

William Stanley PRIOR

Regimental number2779
Date of birth27 March 1893
Place of birthMarrabel, South Australia
OccupationFarm labourer
AddressJulia, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height6' 1"
Weight182 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs Marie D Prior, Julia via Eudunda, South Australia
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date10 February 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll10 February 1916
Place of enlistmentAdelaide, South Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name32nd Battalion, 5th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/49/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A9 Shropshire on 25 March 1916
Regimental number from Nominal Roll2779A
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll32nd Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour Circular

Copy of a letter sent to Mrs Prior: ' France, 3 August 1918: Dear Mrs Prior, It is with feelings of deepest sympathy, that I find it necessary to write these few lines. Your son was killed in action on 30 July 1918. He was a N.C.O. in my platoon. His sterling qualities made him beloved by officers and men alike. He was courageous and cheerful under all conditions and no one feels his loss more than myself. He was killed whilst in charge of a party taking rations to the line, after the battalion had taken lines of trenches (enemy) and while the enemy was still active in the rear. He was buried where he fell near the old front line, with a small cross to mark the last resting place of a soldier and a man. Sincerely yours, Lieutenant George B Alymison, 32nd Battalion'

FateKilled in Action 30 July 1918
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)Date of death officially recorded on Nominal Roll is 15 August 1918
Date of death30 July 1918
Age at death from cemetery records25
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Son of Thomas and Marie Dorothea Prior of Hampden, South Australia
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, PRIOR William Stanley

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