The AIF Project

William Edward STILLMAN

Regimental number91
Place of birthVillage of Hendon, Middlesex, England
SchoolCounty Council School, England
Age on arrival in Australia22
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationStriker
Addressc/o Mrs J Stillman, 62 Balham Hill, London SW, England
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25.6
Height5' 9.5"
Weight158 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs J Stillman, 62 Balham Hill, London SW, England
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date10 April 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll6 April 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name18th Battalion, A Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/35/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board Transport A40 Ceramic on 25 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll2nd Machine Gun Battalion
FateKilled in Action 15 April 1917
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death26
Age at death from cemetery records27
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
179
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William and Jane STILLMAN, 7A Robinson Road, Tooting, London, England
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 16 August 1915.

Admitted to 5th Field Ambulance, 7 September 1915 (diarrhoea), and transferred to 2nd Clearing Station, and then to 25th Casualty Clearing Station; to Alexandria, 8 September 1915, and admitted to 1st Australian General Hospital, Heliopolis, 9 September 1915; transferred to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, Heliopolis, 11 September 1915; to Convalescent Hospital, Ras el Tin, 12 October 1915; discharged to Australian Base, 15 November 1915.

Returned to duty in A Company, 18th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 10 January 1916.

Transferred to Machine Gun Section, D Company, 12 January 1916.

Taken on strength, 5th Machine Gun Company, Moascar, 8 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 17 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 23 March 1916.

Admitted to 1st Anzac Rest Station, 8 August 1916 (gastritis); discharged to duty, 10 August 1916.

Admitted to 4th Casualty Clearing Station, 2 September 1916 (ringworm: face); transferred to 16th General Hospital, Le Treport, 4 September 1916; discharged to Base Details, Etaples, 28 September 1916; rejoined unit, in the field, 16 November 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 1 January 1917.

Appointed Temporary Corporal, 27 January 1917.

Killed in action, 15 April 1917.

Statement, Red Cross File, 5344 Pte J.P. HAIGH, 5th Australian Machine Gun Company (patient, Bath War Hospital), 19 August 1917: 'I saw Stillman shot through the head and killed instantaneously, ther bullet going through the dentre of the forehead. They were on outpost duty in front of Noreuil on April 15/17. The Germans attacked between 4.30 and 6 and Stillman looked over the parapet. He was buried near, but I am not certain of the exact spot. A cross was put up over the grave.'

Second statement, 1599 Corporal A. YOUNG, 5th Australian Machine Gun Company (patient, Ampton Hospital, Suffolk), 1 October 1917: 'We were attacked by Fritz on Apl 15/17 and Stillman was killed by a bullet, in our trench. I was on the left of him. He was buried in a gully near our line between Noreuil and Queant, 7 or 8 miles N.E. of Bapaume. I was one of the burial party. We made a big cross for his grave. He was an Englishman.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, STILLMAN William Edward
Red Cross File No 2630908S

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