William WEIMER (1890-1964)

9th Infantry Brigade AIF

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35th BATTALION A.I.F.

Company Sergeant Major: 937 William WEIMER. BELGIAN CRIOX de GUERRE


Born: 1890. Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. Birth Cert: (No Records).

Married: 1931. New Lambton, New South Wales, Australia. Marriage Cert:14918/1931.

Wife: Victoria O Weimer. nee: Parker.

Died: 1964. Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. Death Cert:11063/1964.


Father: George J Weimer. -1929)

Mother: Annie Weimer. nee: Banks.


INFORMATION

William Weimer enlisted with C Company 35th Battalion AIF on the 11th February 1916 and was an original member of the Battalion and embarked onboard HMAT A24 "Benalla" on the 1st May 1916 and disembarked at Plymouth England on the 9th July 1916. His Battalion was marched to the 9th Training Battaion at the Durrington Army Camp at Lark Hill to commence training for overseas deployment. On the 21st of November William proceeded overseas for France via Southampton. William was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal on the 7th of April 1917 as the 35th prepared for their first major action at Messines.

THE BATTLE OF MESSINES

7th June 1917

The 3rd Australian Divisions first major offencive was at Messines Ridge on the 7th June 1917. The Australian 3rd Division was a part of the II Anzac Corps which was allotted to the first assault. The 25th New Zealand, 3rd Australian Division with the 4th Australian Division in reserve. The 4th Division were battle hardened troops who had fought many major battles.The 3rd Australian Division were having problems getting to the "jump off" point. The day before the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades were bombarded by German Gas-Shells around Hill 63 and Plugstreet Wood. Many of the Aussies were not wearing gas masks, but dispite this they pressed on even though they received 500 casulties.

They made it to the "jump off" point but only just with some of the men from the 9th and 10th going straight over the top without stopping. The mines went up and the attack commenced behind a protective barrage. The II Anzac Corps were attacking on the right with their objective being the southern shoulder of the ridge which included Messines, the Dover and St Yves areas as far south to the east of Plugstreet Wood.

Major General Sir John MONASH's 3rd Division had to contend with a tricky 3 mile approach out of Plugstreet Wood and after the German gas attack, but they were not detered. The 9th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General A JOBSON and the 10th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General W R NICHOLL had just made the jumping off point but some of the men did not stop, going straight into the assault from the approach march.

Their objective lay between St Yves and the Douve. The mines at Trench 127 and Trench 12 at Factory Farm were laid to aid this task. The explosions erupted a few seconds before zero hour and created craters of 200 feet in diameter, completely obliterating the German defence line as the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades went over the top. The mine crates forced the 9th and 10th Brigades to veer to the left and right which caused some confusion with the main assault. It is testimony to the quality of training that every man knew the ground, tasks and objectives so well.

Private: 1804 John CARROLL 33rd Battalion, rushed the enemy's trench and bayoneted four of the German occupants. He then noticed a comrade in difficulties and went to his assistance, killing another German. He then attacked single handed a German Machine Gun Team, killing all three of them and capturing the gun. He later rescued two of his comraded who had been buried alive by German Shell Fire, and in spite of heavy shelling and machine gun fire he dug them out alive and saved them from certain death. John was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The German foward zone was completely engulfed and taken by the main assault. The two supporting battalions of each brigade then passed the leading battalion to continue the advance. The men were constantly re-supplied and the ridge was taken. There were many German prisoners taken during the offencive. The 3rd Division was well ahead with the 9th Infantry Brigade pushing on beyond Grey Farm, and on the right the 10th Infantry Brigade were veering left towards Septieme Barn north of Douve.

The German resistance was heavy but was generally brushed aside by tanks and artillery before the infantry had to become too involved.The 4th Bavarian Divisions Artillery had made little impact, but as the day wore on the 3rd Division and later the 4th Australian Division received many casulties from German artillery. (70% of all casulties during WW1 were from artillery).

By 9:00am nearly 6 hours after the assault began the Germans were in dissaray, but there was a major problem as the Australians received less casulties as anticipated and when ordered to dig into the ridge they had so many men, that some could not find shelter. the 35th battalion were dug in around Seaforth Farm.

The second phase of the operation was to take the Oosttaverne Line. The 3rd Australian Division would now be in reserve with the 4th Division attacking. The 9th Infantry Brigade (33-34-35-36Bn) were near Thatched Cottage facing Warneton. The river Lys was to their right and the Plugstreet Wood was now behind them.

Once their objectives were taken the troops consolidated. A barrarge to stop and counter attack was shortnened and caught three battalions which had to retire. By 9:00pm this part of the Oosttaverne Line was abandonded. At 10:45pm General Godley ordered the 3rd and 4th Divisions to retake it. This they did by the early hours of the 8th of June.

The Battle for Messines Ridge during May-June 1917 saw 35 officers and 1,631 other ranks loose their lives.

9th Infantry Brigade Casulties.
33rd Battalion. AIF 8 Officers 382 Other ranks
34th Battalion. AIF 10 Officers 378 Other ranks
35th Battalion. AIF 5 Officers 431 Other ranks
36th Battalion. AIF 9 Officers 421 Other ranks
9th Machine Gun Company. AIF 2 Officer 17 Other ranks
9th Light Trench Mortor Battery. 1 Officer 2 Other ranks

William was Wounded in Action at Messines on the 7th June 1917 and was treated by the Australian Field Ambulance before being transfered to Hospital for further treatment. William returned to his unit after only 6 days and was taken on in strength on the 13th of June 1917. On the 26th June William was promoted to Temporary Corporal when Corporal: 718 Francis Sydney BAILEY. was also Wounded in Action at Messines and struck off strength and had not returned to duty. William was again promoted this time to Sergeant on the 19th of August when Sergeant: 850 John McFADDEN. was struck off strength.

6th April 1918.

Informant; Company Sergeant Major: 937 William WEIMER  Sergeant: 773 William FOULKES was in C Company. FOULKES was an original man, he was tall, thin, fair about 22, worked at the N.S.W. Aerated Water Works, Wallsend Branch. Listed as Missing on October 12th, Orderly Room has informed of his death and the details have been sent to his people in Australia.

No: 2 General Hospital (Emigrants)

BELGIAN CRIOX de GUERRE

London Gazette 12th July 1918. Page 8191 Position 26.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 27th of November 1918. Page 2262 Position 79.

Returned to Australia 20th November 1918.

Family Information

William was a single 26 year old Labourer from Charlestown Road, Adamstown, N.S.W. upon enlistment. His parents George and Annie Weimer were married in 1889 at Waratah, N.S.W. Marriage Cert:6630/1889. and had 6 children. William Weimer born 1890 at Newcastle, N.S.W. (No Birth Cert) and died 1964 at Parramatta, N.S.W. Death Cert:11063/1964. James Weimer born 1892 at Waratah, N.S.W. Birth Cert:36605/1892. Margaret Weimer born 1895 at Adamstown, N.S.W. Birt Cert:10112/1895. Jane Weimer born 1898 at Adamstown, N.S.W. Birth Cert:9605/1898. George Weimer born 1905 at Adamstown, N.S.W. Birth Cert:10371/1905 and died 1973 at Cessnock, N.S.W. Death Cert:47140/1973. Ivy Weimer born 1909 at Adamstown, N.S.W. Birth Cert:11232/1909.

Brother; Driver: 580 James WEIMER 34th Battalion AIF.

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Under Construction; 11/05/2014-16/03/2017.

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