William Henry Alfred HINDS (1893-1964)

9th Infantry Brigade AIF

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Moree Cemetery

33rd BATTALION A.I.F.

Private: 2323 William Henry Alfred HINDS.


Born: 2nd July 1893. Moree, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert:23319/1893.

Married: 1923. Moree, New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:3803/1923.

Wife: Amy C Hinds. nee: Bodley. (1903-1968)

Died: 23rd January 1964. Moree, New South Wales, Australia. Death Cert:11341/1964.


Father: Henry Hinds. (18..-1939)

Mother: Rose Ann Hinds. nee: Facer. (18..-1943)


INFORMATION

William Henry Alfred Hinds enlisted with the 4th Reinforcements, 33rd Battalion AIF on the 25th May 1916 and embarked onboard HMAT A30 "Borda" on the 17th October 1916.

WILLIAM HIND'S World War 1 Story by Robert McLellan 2013.

William Hinds enlisted in WWI at 22 years at Narrabri, NSW on 23 May 1916 and served mostly in the 33rd Battalion (Bn) infantry as a private. He underwent basic military training at Armidale, NSW in the cold of winter, for 10 weeks. He embarked in the AIF on HMAT 'Borda' from Sydney on 17 Oct 1916 and sailed across the Indian Ocean and across the Atlantic Ocean. He landed at Plymouth, Devon, England on 9 Jan 1917 and went to the 9th Training Bn at Larkhill near Amesbury, Wiltshire, on the Salisbury Plain near Stonehenge. After 10 weeks military training in the frigid cold of an English winter, he took a train from Amesbury to Folkestone, Kent on 5 Apr 1917 and was shipped over to France.

The AIF fought with French Forces and British Forces against German Forces in a disastrous, costly, meat grinding war of attrition on the Western Front Theatre in Europe. William Hinds went to the 3rd Aus Division Base Depot at Etaples, Picardy on 6 Apr 1917 for 3 weeks. He then travelled with 72 reinforcements to the combat zone in Flanders and joined the 33rd Bn, attached to 9th Brigade (Bde), attached to 3rd Division (Div) at Armentieres near Lille on 28 Apr. The 9th Bde comprised the 33rd, 34th, 35th and 36th Bns, under the command of Brigadier Alexander Jobson (see Aus Dict Biog). The Commander of 33rd Bn was Colonel Leslie Morshead (aka 'The Big Rat' of Tobruk & see Aus Dict Biog). The 33rd Bn was resting, refitting and reinforcing in reserves at Armentieres for a week and then marched east into Belgium. They went into the frontline trenches of Le Touquet near Bizet to relieve the 35th Bn on 7 May 1917 and the next day they repulsed a German raid across 'no mans land' with machine gun and rifle fire and endured a German artillery bombardment.

William Hinds started a fearful and sleepless trench routine of artillery shelling, hand bombing, machine gun fire, sniper fire, aerial bombing and at night, flares illuminating patrols and maintenance works on trenches and barbed wire in 'no mans land'. After a week the 33rd Bn of 996 men, rotated positions with the 34th Bn and moved back about 2kms to the support trenches of Le Touquet on 15 May and worked for a week, carrying supplies and maintaining trenches under random German shelling. The support lines were the usual targets for the artillery, as they contained the guns and war materials as well as essential food, water and supplies for the men. They were relieved by the 35th Bn and moved further back about 5kms from the frontline, to reserves at Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium on 21 May. They were sent into the frontline trenches of Ploegsteert to relieve the 38th Bn on 23 May 1917 and endured an enemy bombardment. They were relieved by 34th Bn and went to reserves at Nieppe near Armentieres, on 27 May. They returned to make a raid on enemy trenches at Ploegsteert on the night of 28 May. The 33rd Bn of 894 men, then rested, trained, prepared facilities and reconnoitred for their first battle and in the process suffered many casualties from enemy shelling. At the same time they heard the roar of the British Artillery's 2,230 guns preparatory bombardment of enemy lines, going on all day and night for 2 weeks.

They fought in the Battle of Messines in Belgium from 7-14 Jun 1917 where the British 2nd Army of 256K attacked the German 4th Army of 126K and won a good victory. It resulted in the capture of a prominent ridge up to a maximum gain of 4kms and the loss of 25K British and 25K German casualties. The 3rd Div, including 9th Bde, including 33rd Bn, marched to the start line of Ploegsteert on the night of 6 Jun, breathing heavily in gas masks and passing horses gasping piteously in the poisonous air and under heavy enemy shelling and suffered many casualties. After arrival 19 mines packed with 450 tonnes of explosive under the German trenches, were detonated in a huge wall of flames early on 7 Jun. It was the biggest explosion in history to that date and was even heard in London (see film 'Beneath Hill 60' 2010). It instantly destroyed everything on the ridge including 10K Germans and left a series of 60m wide by 6m deep smoking craters to be negotiated by attacking men and tanks. The 33rd Bn were shocked by the force and noise of the blast and covered in dirt but still managed to make a full frontal charge into 'no mans land', through clouds of dust and smoke and behind their creeping artillery barrage. They obtained their objective of Messines Ridge in 2 hours and dug defensive lines. John Carroll of 33rd Bn won the Victoria Cross there, for rushing an enemy trench and bayoneting 4 men, capturing an enemy machine gun post and killing 3 men and recovering alive 2 comrades who were buried by a shell blast. Their advance had been like childs play compared to the nightmare of their approach march. The Germans were in shock and awe and only responded in the afternoon and on the following days with counterattacks and fierce artillery bombardments. The 33rd Bn suffered heavy casualties from enemy and friendly artillery fire in the chaos of battle. They were constantly fighting or patrolling or digging for 6 long days and held onto the ridge through the terror, noise and hardship of battle. They were replaced in the firefront of battle by 35 Bn on 11 Jun and moved back to the start line and stood to arms as ready reserves. The 9th Bde, including 33rd Bn was replaced in the battlefield by the NZ 2nd Bde on 12 Jun.

The 33rd Bn suffered 390 casualties or 45% of strength in the battle, with most caused by shelling. The exhausted survivors marched out via Steenwerck to Le Doulieu, Flanders on 14 Jun and paraded for the Commander of ANZAC II Corps, General Alexander Godley. They then rested, refitted and reinforced there for a week. The 33rd Bn went back into Belgium by hard marches for 2 days via Neuve Eglise (aka Nieuwkerke) to the support trenches of Messines to relieve the British 10th Cheshire Bn on 22 Jun and worked for 2 weeks. They were relieved by the 34th Bn and went to reserves at Neuve Eglise on 3 Jul 1917 to bath and rest. They returned to the support trenches of Messines to relieve the 35th Bn on 7 Jul and worked for a week.

They went into the frontline trenches of Messines to relieve the 41st Bn on 12 Jul and suffered many casualties from enemy shelling and were gassed on 15 Jul. After a week they were relieved by 35th Bn and went to the support trenches of Messines on 18 Jul and worked for a week, carrying materials and supplies in through the mud and under enemy shelling. After 12 weeks of combat William Hinds fell sick with influenza on 21 Jul and went to 11 Field Ambulance for a weeks treatment. He was discharged back to 33rd Bn of 598 men, in reserves at Neuve Eglise on 30 Jul 1917 as they bathed and rested for a week. They went to Vieux Berquin near Hazebrouck, Flanders on 3 Aug 1917 for a weeks training, especially for their reinforcements. They went to reserves at West Dranoutre near Heuvelland on 8 Aug and trained whilst hearing the roar of the raging battles of the first phase of the Passchendaele Campaign. They paraded for the Commander of the British 2nd Army, General Herbert Plumer there on 11 Aug. They fortunately were sent away from the combat zone on 15 Aug and took a train from Bailleul, north to Wizernes near St Omer, Artois and marched to Les Boulonnais, Artois to relax and recover for 6 weeks in the autumn.

They paraded with the 9th Bde for the handover of command to the larger than life, Brigadier Charles Rosenthal (aka 'Rosie' & see Aus Dict Biog) on 27 Aug. They underwent training especially in musketry and gas mask fitting, including in poisonous air on 17 Sep 1917 as well as attacking in sections, platoons and companies for the next battle. They played football games in the afternoon and also won the 9th Bde athletics day and cooking competition and came second in the ANZAC II Corps horse show at Drionville, Artois on 15 Sep. They paraded for the Commander of 3rd Div, General John Monash (see Aus Dict Biog) at Les Boulonnais on 22 Sep 1917. The 33rd Bn returned to the combat zone by hard marches for 4 days, with some taking 10 hours and reached the Div reserves at Winnezeele, Flanders on 28 Sep.

They fought with millions of men and guns in the world of mud and blood of the Passchendaele Campaign (aka 3rd Battle of Ypres) in Belgium of Jul 1917 to Nov 1917 where the British attacked and gained a maximum of 8kms of ground. It resulted in the introduction of feared German mustard gas and the loss of 300K British and 260K German casualties. The battle opened with the British Artillery firing 3,000 guns in a stupendous bombardment for 3 days, where the noise was deafening, the air above was solid with crashing metal and the ground below trembled and the farmlands of reclaimed marsh were churned into a bog so bad that soldiers and horses which fell in got stuck and could drown and disappear into the mud. They fought in the Battle of Polygon Wood in Belgium from 26 Sep-3 Oct 1917 where the British 2nd & 5th Armies attacked the German 4th Army and won a victory. It resulted in the capture of German trenches up to a maximum gain of 1km, for the loss of 15K British casualties. The 33rd Bn of 903 men, was quickly bussed through the chaos and noise of battle and went to the frontline shell holes of Sans Souci near Zonnebeke to replace in the battlefield, the British 76th Bde's depleted 4 Bns on the night of 29 Sep. The 33rd Bn was soon replaced in the battle by the 23rd and 28th Bns and transferred north to the frontline shell holes of Potsdam near Zonnebeke on the night of 1 Oct 1917, under heavy enemy shelling. They then dug a big trench in the rain on the night of 2 Oct and buried large numbers of bodies, both British and German that were lying on the battlefield. The 9th Bde including 33rd Bn was replaced in the battlefield by the 10th Bde and went to reserves at Ypres on the night of 3 Oct. The 33rd Bn suffered 50 casualties in the battle.

They participated in the Battle of Broodseinde in Belgium on 4 Oct 1917 where the British 2nd & 5th Armies attacked the German 4th Army and won a good victory, the best of the campaign and what the Germans called a black day. It resulted in the capture of a prominent ridge up to a maximum gain of 2kms and the loss of 20K British and 20K German casualties. The 33rd Bn after arriving in reserves at Ypres, worked hard through the chaos and noise of the next battle on 4 Oct, supplying men as stretcher bearers to carry the wounded and as labourers to repair and clear the roads and tracks, under enemy bombardment. The 33rd Bn suffered 2 casualties in the battle. They moved further back about 8kms from the frontline, to Div reserves at Winnezeele the next day, to rest as pouring rain set in. They participated in the Battle of Poelcappelle in Belgium on 9 Oct 1917 where the British 2nd & 5th Armies attacked the German 4th Army and were repulsed in the rain and mud. The 3rd Div, including 9th Bde, including 33 Bn stood by as reserves at Winnezeele, ready to be thrown into the battle to exploit any success. The 9th Bde including 33rd Bn then marched east to Potijze near Ypres and tried to sleep out in the rain and mud on 10 Oct.

They fought in the Battle of Passchendaele I in Belgium on 12 Oct 1917 where the British 2nd & 5th Armies attacked the German 4th Army and were repulsed in the pouring rain and sea of mud. It resulted in no gain and the loss of 13K British and 8K German casualties. The 33rd Bn slogged through bog and mud for 7 hours to the start line under heavy enemy shelling and poisonous gas, on the night of 11 Oct and suffered many casualties. They stood to arms as ready reserves on the start line in the rain, as the 9th Bde attacked under a heavy enemy barrage. However in the confusion and noise of battle, the 33rd Bn's D Company advanced and captured 2 German blockhouses and 70 prisoners before returning on the morning of 12 Oct. The 33rd Bn then moved out 1km and dug a defensive line, however the battle was lost in the face of fierce enemy bombardments and machine gun fire and the 9th Bde retreated from the outskirts of Passchendaele village past them to the start line. The 33rd Bn became isolated at the firefront of battle and had to withdraw to the old defences and fought off counterattacks. They were withdrawn from the battlefield the next day and stood to arms as ready reserves nearby. The 33rd Bn suffered 284 casualties or 35% of strength in the depressing defeat and was relieved by the 43rd Bn and went to the support trenches of Seine near Zonnebeke on 14 Oct.

William Hinds was wounded in action, suffering a gunshot wound to his back in the retreat from Passchendaele on 12 Oct. His wounds were serious and he was evacuated and admitted to the 14 General Hospital at Wimereux, Picardy the next day. His condition was critical and he was transferred on the Hospital Ship 'Jan Breydal' over to England and admitted to the Belmont Park Hospital at Liverpool, Lancashire on 15 Oct. After 4 months treatment he was transferred to the 3rd Aus Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford, Kent on 28 Feb 1918 for 4 weeks treatment. He then received a weeks leave in England before being shipped out on the Hospital Ship 'Dunluce Castle' on 8 Apr 1918 and probably landed in Egypt to rest. He was shipped on HMAT 'Port Darwin' across the Indian Ocean and returned to Aus on 17 Aug 1918. William Hinds was discharged from the AIF after 2 years service, including 4 months in the combat zone, as medically unfit due to kyphosis of the spine on 24 Sep 1918.

Sources:

National Archives of Australia ADF Personnel Rec-Army-WWI sB2455 2323 1914-20

Official History Aus in War 1914-18 v4 by C. Bean 1920

War Diary AWM 4 33rd Bn s-s23/50 pts6-12.

(Robert McLellan of Bronte NSW. 2013)

Family Information

William was a single 22 year old Carpenter from Chester Street, Moree, N.S.W. upon enlistment. His parents Henry and Rose Hinds were married in 1877 at Narrabri, N.S.W. Marriage Cert:3732/1877 and has 6 children. Angelina R Hinds born 1878 at Narrabri, N.S.W. Birth Cert:17485/1878. Edward Alfred Hinds born 1880 at Narrabri, N.S.W. Birth Cert:19506/1880 and died in 1958 at Moree, N.S.W. Death Cert:6540/1958. Isabella E Hinds born 1885 at Narrabri, N.S.W. Birth Cert:27898/1885. Ethel M Hinds born 1888 at Narrabri, N.S.W. Birth Cert:30171/1888. Mary M Hinds born 1890 at Narrabri, N.S.W. Birth Cert:23645/1890. William Henry Alfred Hinds born 1893 at Narrabri, N.S.W. Birth Cert:23319/1893 and died in 1964 at Moree, N.S.W. Death Cert:11341/1964.

William's father Henry Hinds die in 1939 at Moree, N.S.W. Death Cert:5929/1939 and his mother Rose ann Hinds died in 1943 at Moree, N.S.W. Death Cert:10988/1943. William's wife Amy Hinds died in 1968 at Moree, N.S.W. Death Cert:37852/1968.

William is buried at the Moree Cemetery with five of his former comrades from the 33rd Battalion. They are: Private: 46 Benjamin CLAVERIE. 33rd Battalion AIF. Private: 743 Arthur George COPPOCK. 33rd Battalion AIF. Private: 2308 Michael Alfred FRANCIS. Private: 1874 James MORRISON. 33rd Battalion AIF. Private: 3399 Ernest WILLIAMS. 33rd Battalion AIF.

(Moree Cemetery. D Harrower 2010)

A number of his cousins served during world War 1. Private: 100 Augustus "Circus" HINDS. (35th Battalion. A Company Signaller) Killed in Action. Private: 694 Albert Victor "Alfred" HINDS. (1st Australian Field Artillery) Corporal: 1209 Harold Gordon HINDS. (19th Battalion). Private: 7071 Charles Frederick HINDS. (18th Battalion). Private: 81112 Joseph Claude HINDS. (Technical Battalion)

(Robert McLellan 2013)

Moree War Memorial Hall

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Under Construction; 22/10/2010-11/12/2016.


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