Richard WILLIAMS (1891-1934)

9th Infantry Brigade AIF

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Rising Sun

35th BATTALION A.I.F.

Sergeant: 244 Richard WILLIAMS. M.M.


Born: 1891. Lambton, via Newcastle, New South Wales, Birth Cert:18200/1890.

Married:

Wife: Lucy Williams. nee: .

Died: 21st May 1934. Randwick, New South Wales, Australia. Death Cert:8008/1934.


Father: John Williams.

Mother: Sarah A Williams. nee:


INFORMATION

Richard Williams enlisted with A Company, 35th Battalion AIF on the 11th of January 1916 and was an original member of the Battalion and left Sydney on board HMAT A24 "Benalla" on the 1st of May 1919 and returned to Australia on the 31st of March 1919.

3rd September 1917.

Informant;Sergeant: 244 Richard WILLIAMS.   Private: 14 John AYRE 9th Brigade, Light Trench Mortor Battery, was killed at Hill 163 and buried in ARMENTIERES Cemetery. He had originally been in the 35th Battalion, A Company and I think the No:2 Platoon.

Australian Camp, ROUELLES.

16th April 1918.

’On the 16th April, the rumours of a new German Offensive against Amiens seemed to be definitely confirmed. A German prisoner, taken by the French, volunteered the that Villers Bretonneux was to be attacked the next day. The 5th Australian Division, which had come line on the night of the 6th/7th April, and held the sector from Villers Bretonneux (inclusive) to the Somme canal was warned to be ready to retake the town, if captured by attack from the north ; and other preparations and counter-preparations were made. About 4 A.M. on the 17th, Villers Bretonneux, Bois d'Aquenne, to the west of it and the village of Cachy, to the south, were heavily drenched for three hours with phosgene, mustard and irritant gasses. But no assault followed. As soon as possible the local garrison, consisting of the 6/London(58 Dvn) and the 33rd Australian Battalion, was got out of the shelters in the town into the trenches around it. The gas shelling was repeated in the evening from 4 to 7 P.M., next morning and on the following days, being increased so as to include Bois I'Abbe, but with greatly reduced results. Nevertheless it was impossible for anyone to move that area without feeling some ill-effects from the mustard gas, and there were, in all, 1,074 gas casualties.’

’The gassing of Villers Bretonneux seemed to point to the probability of its not being attacked, but by this time air photographs had revealed the signs of imminent operations; an increase in the number of enemy batteries had also been noticed, while the roads were being registered by German artillery. There were, however, also indications that the Albert sector might be the objective of an attack which might extend to Arras and Vimy Ridge. On the 21st there was much air fighting near the Somme, and the famous airman Richthofen was brought down.1. That night a man of the 4th Guard Division, captured by the 8th Dvn , disclosed the fact that his formation had just relieved the 9th Bavarian Reserve Division in front of Marcelcave , and would attack Villers Bretonneux at 3 A.M. on the 23rd. Counter-preparations were continued, and the German railway centres were bombed, particularly Chaulnes .2 'No infantry assault materialized on the 23rd, two deserters came in from the 77th Reserve Division, just arrived from Russia, which had entered the line on 20th, south of the 4th Guard Division, opposite Cachy, and the French captured a gunner of the Guard Ersatz Division opposite Hangard. All these men said that the relief of the line divisions by " storm " divisions had been completed the infantry were ready to advance; the bombardment would begin early on the 24th and. last two and-a -quarter hours: and the attack would be assisted by new German tanks, which were already in position near the front line. 2 It is from the fact that tanks were used to punch a hole in the British line on either side of Villers Bretonneux, and that, in consequence, the Germans gained possession of the town and ground on either side for a short time, that the fighting on the 24th derives its interest.’

24th April 1918.

3:30am Heavy Bombardment heard on front. 10:30am Instructions received to be ready to move immediatly. 12:00 noon Instructions are now to move on 1 hours notice. Enemy attacked at Villers-Bretonneux at 6:30am and at 1:00pm. Was in position of the town and the ground to the South as far as HANGARD. By midnight the 13th and 15th Brigades and re taked the lost ground and captured 1200 Prisoners, 100 Machine Guns and 2 Field Guns.

(35th Battalion War Diary)

14th May 1918

MILITARY MEDAL

Temporary Sergeant: 244 Richard Williams, 35th Battalion A.I.F. For devotion to duty and gallent service during attack on enemy position near MORLANCOURT, near ALBERT on the night of 5/6th May 1918. This N.C.O. was of the greatest assistance to his platoon Commander. He was sent to ascertain the position of the left of his platoon and found a Company without an Officer and in dought as to its situation in relation to the objective. He alone gave assistance to the N.C.O. in charge, got the troops together and launched themto their final objective. consolidation under his order was immediately proceeded with. He afterwards continued his work with his own platoon. He influenced at this particular time was of the greatest value.

London Gazette 13th September 1918. Page 10779 Position 14.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette 4th of Ferbuary 1919. Page 129 Position 187.

Family Information

Richard was a married 25year old Coal Miner from New Lambton road, New Lambton, N.S.W upon enlistment.

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© Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia)

Under Construction; 06/11/2007-18/09/2016.


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