William East

Name: William Henry East

Rank: Private

Service Number: 4761

Units Served: 50th Battalion

Personal Details: William Henry East was born on the 7th September, 1896 at Forest Range, South Australia, to Henry and Charlotte East. Second son in a family of 12 children, William attended Forest Range School. He had Hazel eyes, light brown hair, 5 foot 6 inches William was a labourer/gardener. For 4 years he attended Senior Cadets at Lobethal and for 3 months he was a member of the Citizen Forces.

Enlistment Details: On hearing of the news of his brother Walter’s death at Gallipoli on 19th May 1915 it is said that he wanted to go overseas to get the person who killed his brother. He enlisted on 20th October 1915 at the age of 19 ½ to the 2nd Depot Battalion. William embarked on Mongolia on 9th March 1916. Reallocated forward 20th May 1916 to the 15th Reinforcements 10th Battalion. He disembarked at Marseilles on 14th June 1916. On 13th August 1916 William joined 50th Battalion.

At 7.30pm 2nd September 1916 work on the trenches on the battle front from the intersection of Pozieres Road and the tramway to Keys Dump began. Assaulting Battalions commenced the attack on Mouguet Farm and eastwards, at 5.10 am on 4th September 1916. Heavy shelling followed at different times throughout the day. William lost his life.

4th October, 1916 Charlotte, Williams’s mother, was told of your death by the Minister and requested details. Henry, Williams’s father was notified on 24th September 1937 that the grave of an Unknown Soldier was found at a point of Pozieres, France, and in order to maintain the grave in the future it was carefully exhumed and reburied at London Cemetery Extension. In doing this Private East’s identity disc was found and from this it was established to be his grave.

Age at Death: 20

Memorial Details: London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval

War Memorial: Verge Adelaide to Lobethal Road, Lenswood Uniting Church, Lenswood, Park

Renaming of town: In 1917 local residents of Jerry’s Flat, their home town, changed the town’s name to Lenswood memorialising the Lens battlefield where the ‘Range boys’ fought. “2 of my boys are dead the oldest and the next one”,  wrote their mother Charlotte in a letter to the AIF in October 1916

Commemorated by

2008

Tiffany Green

1st December 2008