The AIF Project

William Ernest WHITING

Regimental number3452
Place of birthToowoomba, Queensland
SchoolState School, Queensland
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationBrickmaker
AddressLota Estate, Manly, Brisbane, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation25
Height5' 8"
Weight143 lbs
Next of kinFather, S Whiting, Lota Estate, Manly, Brisbane, Queensland
Previous military serviceServed in Brabant's Light Horse, Boer War (according to father; 5 months in Demant's Horse, according to Attestation Form).
Enlistment date29 July 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name15th Battalion, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/32/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A48 Seang Bee on 2 October 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll15th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 27 August 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, France
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
78
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Stephen and Mary Ann Whiting, Lola, Manly, Queensland
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Joined 15th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 6 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 1 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 8 June 1916.

Found guilty, 1 July 1916, of (1) being absent without leave, 10 pm, 30 June, to 11.15 pm, 1 July 1916; (2) drunkenness: awarded 144 hours' Field Punishment No 2, and forfeited 2 days' pay under Royal Warrant.

Killed in action, 27 August 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, WHITING William Ernest

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