The AIF Project

William Thomas PIDDINGTON

Regimental number1965
Place of birthMolong, New South Wales
ReligionMethodist
OccupationFarmer
AddressDooragong, Mungery via Tomingley, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height6' 1"
Weight161 lbs
Next of kinFather, Henry Charles Piddington, Dooragong, Mungery via Tomingley, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date10 February 1916
Place of enlistmentDubbo, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name54th Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/71/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A37 Barambah on 23 June 1916
Regimental number from Nominal RollCommissioned
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll55th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 4 July 1918
Place of burialFranvillers Communal Cemetery Extension (Plot I, Row G, Grave No. II), France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
161
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 5683 Sergeant Cecil Henry PIDDINGTON MM & Bar, 20th Bn, returned to Australia, 7 July 1919; 54257 Pte Gladstone PIDDINGTON, 34th Bn, returned to Australia, 28 August 1919.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked Sydney, 23 June 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 25 August 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 12 November 1916; taken on strength, 55th Bn, in the field, 1 December 1916.

Admitted to 6th Field Ambulance, 23 May 1917 (influenza), and transferred to Divisional Rest Station; rejoined Bn, in the field, 22 June 1917.

Detached to Anzac Infantry School, 22 July 1917; rejoined Bn, 26 August 1917.

Appointed Corporal, 14 September 1917.

Selected to attended No 6 Officer Cadet Bn, Oxford, commencing 5 October 1917.

On Command, No 6 Officer Cadet Bn, Balliol College, Oxford, 5 October 1917.

Having qualified for Commission in Infantry appointed 2nd Lieutenant, 30 January 1918.

Marched in to 14th Training Bn, Codford, 10 February 1918.

Proceeded overseas to France, 5 April 1918; taken on strength, 55th Bn, in the field, 12 May 1918.

Killed in action, 4 July 1918.

Letter, Red Cross File No 2150905M, Captain K.R. WYLLIE, 55th Bn, 25 October 1918: 'I regret to inform you that he was killed in a raid on the enemy trenches on the morning of 4th July 1918. Though he was struck down by a shell while crossing No Man's land [sic] and killed instantly we succeeded in bringing in his body and he was buried in the Franvillers Communal Cemetery Extension (Somme) and a cross erected over his grave. As an N.C.O. Piddington had a splendid record in this battalion - joining as a private in December 1916 he won his promotion to Corporal in ten months and was selected almost at once to go to the Officers Cadet Battalion. There he passed his examinations well and returned to us with his commission in May last[,] being posted to my company. For the comparatively few weeks that he was with us as an officer he proved himself the keenest of soldiers and when the company was detailed for a raid on the 4th July immediately volunteered to take part. By his death this company has lost a very fine officer and I have lost a personal friend whom I thought very highly of indeed.'

Second statement, Lt W.J.J. McGEE, 55th Bn (patient, 4th Australian General Hospital, Randwick, New South Wales), 20 November 1918: 'Informant states that on the 4.7.18 the Battalion was holding the line at Hamel. At 3 a.m. the Lieutenant took part in a reconnoitring raid and was killed. Informant was not a member of the raiding party but saw it set out, in fact shook hands with the Lieutenant on the tape before the party set out. He was subsequently told by Padre Mcauley that Piddington's body was found one or two days later and was buried in the cemetery at Francvillers [sic]. Padre Macauley said that he officiated at the interment.'

Third statement, 3665 Pte J. DUNKER, 55th Bn (patient, 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, England), 3 October 1918: 'I saw him shortly after he had been killed at the left of Morlancourt about 3.30 a.m. on the 5th of July, 1918. He had a large hole through the centre of his back. I saw him being carried out to the cemetery at Franvillers for burial.'

Fourth statement, 28256 Quartermaster Sergeant J.S. FRASER, 55th Bn, 30 September 1918: 'On July 4th. in the morning we made a raid on the Morlancourt Sector. Lieut. Piddington was killed at the start at the Jumping Off Trench by shell fire. He was hit in the stomach by a large piece of shell. I saw him lying out and I saw his body brought in; it was taken back to Heilly and buried there. I have not seen the Grave.'

Fifth statement, 5399 Lance Corporal R.F. LYTTLE, 55th Bn, 1 October 1918: 'It was on July 4th. at 3 a.m. at Sailly-le-Sec on a raid. He was killed by shell which struck him in the abdomen. He died instantly in an open wheatfield. I was with the carrying parties and saw Mtr. Piddington dead. He was being carried out by the party in front of me to the R.A.P.'

Sixth statement, 2694 Pte D.C. MILLER, 55th Bn, 4 October 1918: 'He was very tall, fair, clean-shaven, and had a fresh complexion. He had not long been back from England with his Commission. I did not see him killed but I saw his Grave. He went on a raid between Morlancourt and Hamlette and was killed. He lay out there for two nights before they could get him in. He was buried at Franvillers in the Military Cemetery and I saw his Grave there. A Cross was put up.'

Seventh statement, 1073 Pte J. CAZENAVE, 55th Bn, 4 October 1918: 'He was killed near Hamel and lay in No Man's Land till the following night, and I was one of the S/Bs who volunteered to carry in the dead, and I helped to bring him in. He was the first man brought in. He was buried at Bony. I did not see the grave but I saw the cross in the Q.M's Store, before it was put up.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsAddress incorrectly recorded as Mungary on Embarkation Roll.
SourcesNAA: B2455, PIDDINGTON William Thomas
Red Cross File No 2150905M

Print format