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William Howard WALTHALL

Rank Reg/Ser No DOB Enlisted Discharge/Death Board
Pte 2268 26y5m 18 Mar 1916 4 May 1917 KA 4 & 7

Private William Howard Walthall (1890 -1917)


Family background and early life

William Howard Walthall was born in Brisbane on 10 October 1890, son of Christopher and Ada Marie Walthall of Bailey Street, New Farm, members of Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Brisbane. The family was involved in the work of the Sunday School.  William had three brothers, Barrie, Elbert and Cecil.  He attended Brisbane Grammar School in 1905 and prepared to follow farming as a career. When he, a single man, enlisted for service abroad on 18 March 1916, his occupation was an orchardist.

Enlistment and service overseas

Private Walthall, service number 2268, sailed with the Fourth Reinforcements for the 49th Battalion from Brisbane on HMAT Boorara on 16 August 1916.

Joining the 25th Battalion in England he embarked for France on SS Princess Victoria at the end of the year.

Killed at Bullecourt

He was killed in action at Bullecourt, France on the 3 or 4 May 1917. This was the Second Battle of Bullecourt.  Australian and British soldiers attacked at 3.45am on 3 May 1917.

The Australians penetrated the German line but met determined opposition which frustrated the envelopment plan.  A few days later, the Germans did withdraw.  Although the locality was of little or no strategic importance, the actions were nevertheless extremely costly. AIF casualties totalled 7,482 from three Australian Divisions.

William Howard Walthall has no known grave. Along with thousands of other Australians killed in France and who have no known grave, his name is remembered with honour at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

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.  One of these is William Howard Walthall, commemorated with these words:

In Memory of
2268A, 25th Bn., Australian Infantry, A.I.F.
Who died age 27
Between 03 May 1917 and 04 May 1917
Son of Christopher and Ada Marie Walthall, OL 33, Leckmere St., New Farm, Brisbane, Queensland.
Remembered with honour

And in Australia, William’s name appears on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, the Roll of Honour at Brisbane Grammar School and on the brass plaque on the wall of the Merrington Anzac Memorial Peace Chapel at Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church which honours 41 soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice in World War 1.

The Lord is my strength and my song and is become my Salvation.

 Select Bibliography
• Annals of the Brisbane Grammar School 1869 - 1922
• Australian War Memorial, Canberra
• National Archives of Australia, military records
• Archives, Brisbane Grammar School, The Golden Book
• Archives, Saint Andrew’s Uniting Church, Annual Reports 1901 – 1925
• State Library of Queensland – images where cited

Compiled by Noel E. Adsett, Brisbane.   September 2014 ©



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