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William Henry DARK

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Pte 2059 20y8m Aug 1916 16 Apr 1919 6

Private William Henry Dark (1895 - 1975)


Family background and early life

William Henry Dark was born in Brisbane on 28 September 1895, son of Henry William Dark (1847 – 1917) and Elizabeth Matilda née Moore (1863 – 1954) who were married in Sydney in 1885.  They came to live in Brisbane where their eleven children were born between 1886 and 1904.  William was the seventh child and eldest son.  Mr Henry Dark was a cordial manufacturer and brewer of ginger beer.  The large family lived at 580 Boundary Road in Spring Hill and attended Wharf Street Congregational Church.  Annie Dark, one of William’s older sisters married Robert William Bagley on 11 August 1909.

In his youth William Henry Dark was apprenticed over a three year period as a glass beveller in the firm James Campbell and Sons Ltd. 

He also served for two years in Senior Cadets and for three years in the Citizen Forces.

Enlistment and service

At the age of 20 years and eight months William Henry Dark enlisted in Brisbane to serve in the Australian Infantry Force, AIF.

Private Dark, regimental number 2059, was appointed to reinforcements for the 41st Battalion and commenced training at Bell’s Paddock at Enoggera Camp in August 1916. 

When the young soldier William Dark embarked at Brisbane per HMAT1 Clan McGillivray on 7 September 1916, he left his parents and nine of his siblings at home at 580 Boundary Road, Spring Hill.  On arrival in England Private Dark continued training at Hurdcott in preparation for battle on the Western Front.  He spent a period in hospital with mumps before crossing from the port of Folkestone to France with reinforcements for the 41st Battalion on 4 February 1917. 

At the beginning of April, Private Dark was transferred to the 2nd Anzac Salvage Corps.  The Salvage Corps' role was to recover equipment from the battlefield, thus reducing waste and saving valuable shipping space.  Private W.H. Dark was a member of the 22nd Salvage Company which had an establishment of one officer and 69 other ranks. He continued in this work till 1 February 1918 when he rejoined the 41st Battalion at the Australian Infantry Base Depot at Rouelles.  At the beginning of March he was transferred to the Australian Corps Reinforcement Camp, Le Havre.  Private Dark’s war service record shows he suffered with chronic bronchitis.  He was also treated for an abscess on the neck in November 1918. 

Post war

When the war was over he was granted a period of leave before his return to Australia on board HMAT Demosthenes from London in January 1919.  He was discharged from the AIF on 16 April 1919.

During William Dark’s war service, his father died aged 69 at the Brisbane General Hospital on 30 January 1917. One of his sisters, Ethel also died in 1917. 

The Dark Family

Mrs Elizabeth Dark and her remaining family moved to live at Bentley House, Marne Road, Albion.  William joined them there and returned to his trade as a glass beveller.  For more than a decade, the Dark sisters and brothers remained with their mother under the same roof at Albion.  Mrs Dark’s daughters Gladys, Jessie and Mabel were employed in clerical duties, while Susan was a dressmaker and Louisa and Henrietta assisted with home duties.  Her sons, William, was a glass beveller, Charles, a warehouseman, and Reginald, worked as a clerk.  

Changes occurred in the 1930's.  William Dark became a poultry farmer and accompanied by his sister Henrietta lived at Capalaba. There he married Gladys Wight in 1939 and they continued to live at Capalaba, while Henrietta returned to the Dark family home in Albion.

Reginald, the youngest member of the Dark family married in 1937.  Their mother, Mrs Elizabeth Dark died in 1954 aged 90 and was buried in the Toowong Cemetery.

In 1965, William Dark’s wife Gladys died.  Retiring from poultry farming soon afterwards, William returned to the home at Marne Road in Albion to live with his remaining sisters and brother, six in all.  By the year 1972, these six had all retired and were living at 10 Bradley Street in Woody Point. 


William Henry Dark died in 1975.  For his services during the Great War he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  His story tells of the value he placed on the companionship and care of family life.


1 His Majesty’s Australian Transport

• National Archives of Australia, military records, World War 1
• Australian War Memorial, unit histories
• Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages, Queensland
• Register of Births, Deaths and Marriages, New South Wales
• Ancestry, on-line
• Queensland Electoral Rolls, 1905 – 1972
The Queenslander, 17 February 1917, page 9
• Years Books, Wharf Street Congregational Church and City Congregational Church, 1909 – 1950

Compiled by Noel E Adsett, Brisbane.  October 2016  ©



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