The AIF Project

William FAINT

Regimental number355
Place of birthHindmarsh, South Australia
SchoolHindmarsh Public School, South Australia
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationCleaner
AddressJervis Avenue, New Hindmarsh, South Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 9"
Weight168 lbs
Next of kinFather, T Faint, Jervis Avenue, New Hindmarsh, South Australia
Previous military serviceServed for 2 years in the Senior Cadets; 1 year in the Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date19 August 1914
Place of enlistmentMorphettville, South Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name10th Battalion, C Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/27/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board Transport A11 Ascanius on 20 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll10th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Bar to MM


Recommendation date: 14 August 1918 (29-30 July 1918)

Military Medal


Collection 1: 1st Div: Attached XV Corps: 16-31 July 1918
Recommendation date: 14 August 1918 (23 July 1918)'

FateKilled in Action 11 August 1918
Place of death or woundingBray, Somme Sector, France
Age at death23
Age at death from cemetery records23
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
59
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Thomas and Sarah Alice FAINT, New Hindmarsh, South Australia
Medals

Military Medal

'On the morning of 23rd July, 1918, near MERRIS, FAINT while in charge of a small patrol, located an enemy post. Carefully working his way to the rear of the post he rushed it and captured 8 unwounded prisoners and 1 machine gun.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 61
Date: 23 May 1919

Bar to Military Medal

'In the attack on MERRIS on night 29/30th July 1918, Sergt. FAINT took out a patrol of 5 men in front of our newly established position and captured 17 prisoners and a machine gun, besides killing about 20 of the enemy with bombs. Later during the same day he was on patrol with 2 men and captured another enemy post, getting 5 prisoners and a machine gun. He showed great gallantry throughout the whole operation and set a fine example to the remainder of the platoon.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 91
Date: 23 July 1919

Family/military connectionsBrother: 92A Pte Frank FAINT, 10th Bn, returned to Australia, 5 March 1919.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (Gallipoli Campaign), 2 March 1915.

Wounded in action, 15-17 May 1915 (gun shot wound, left cheek: severe), and admitted to 1st Casualty Clearing Station; transferred to Alexandria, and admitted to 17th General Hospital, 19 May 1915, and transferred same day to 15th General Hospital.

Embarked for Gallipoli, 21 June 1915; rejoined 10th Bn, 25 June 1915.

Wounded in action (2nd occasion), 6 August 1915 (gun shot wound, left ear), and admitted to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station; transferred to HS 'Ascania', 7 August 1915; disembarked Alexandria, 11 August 1915, and admitted to 1st Australian General Hospital, Cairo; transferred to 2nd Australian General Hospital, 11 August 1915; discharged to duty, 29 August 1915.

Rejoined Bn, Gallipoli, 25 October 1915.

Appointed Lance Corporal, Mudros, 6 December 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria, 29 December 1915 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Reduced to ranks, 6 January 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 27 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 3 April 1916.

Admitted to 8th Casualty Clearing Station, 18 April 1916 (pneumonia); transferred to Australian General Hospital, Wimereux, 18 April 1916; to No 5 Convalescent Camp, 24 April 1916; to Base Depot, Etaples, 4 May 1915; rejoined Bn, in the field, 17 May 1916.

Appointed Lance Sergeant, 1 August 1916.

Promoted Sergeant, 19 October 1916.

Posted to 3rd Training Bn, Durrington, England, 21 March 1917.

On Command, School of Instruction, Chelsea Barracks, London, 21 April 1917.

Proceeded ovetrseas to France, 25 September 1917; rejoined 10th Bn, in the field, 5 October 1917.

Detached to 2nd Army School of Instruction, 8 February 1918; rejoined Bn from detachment, 17 March 1918.

Proceeded to Paris as member of Representative Platoon, 8 July 1918; rejoined Bn from Paris Guard, 20 July 1918.

Killed in action, 11 August 1918.

Statement, Red Cross File No 1030609J, 3509 Pte C.N. HALL, B Company, 10th Bn, 27 November 1918: 'He was of B. Company, V Platoon. About 9 o'clock in morning of 10th August near Lihons working through a wood. Was killed outright by machine gun bullets. Hit in head and body. I was 15/20 yards away at the time and saw him afterwards. Was buried near old German C.C.S. at Lihons, cross erected. I saw his cross ready, but did not see his grave. He had won the "M.M." and was recognised as one of the finest soldiers in the Battalion. I think he came from Mt Gambier District, South Australia.'

Second statement, 5998Pte L.C.KEMP, B company, 10th Bn (patient, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England), 29 November 1918: 'He was in B. Coy. I did not see Casualty, but saw him a few minutes after then dead, near Harbonnieres at Creepy Wood. He had been hit in groin and other parts of body and lived about half an hour. Casualty happened in the early morning of August 11th 1918, and he was hit just after hop-over. I knew him well, and he came from Hindmarsh, South Australia, where he worked on railways.'

Third statement, 4877 Pte J. SPIBEY, A company, 10th Bn, 12 December 1918: 'All these boys [355 W. FAINT, 2576 J.P. AHERN, 5370 P.G. GUY, 2381 W. HANSEN, 2800 A. SUTCLIFFE, 2700 C.A. WILLIAMS] except Sergeant Faint, were in A. Company and were killed at Creepy Wood on August 11th 1918, and were buried in a large grave just on the border of the Wood. There was a large photo taken of the grave with the cross on it. Captain McCann, D.S.O., M.C., and bar of the 10th Battalion, A Company, has the negative, and has promised a copy to all those who took part in the action. There were 25 boys buried in the grave, all killed at the same time.'

Fourth statement, 7368 Pte C. RICHMOND, 10th Bn (patient, Fulham Military Hospital, London, England), 13 February 1919: 'I knew Sgt. Faint very well - he had a Military Medal, and he won the bar to it in this stunt where he got killed. 50 of our Battalion got killed at Creepy Wood on Aug. 11th. I helped to bury him. A big hole was dug and they were all buried together and a big cross was put up with all their names on.'

Medals: Military Medal & Bar, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, FAINT William
Red Cross File No 1030609J

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