Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The Story of William Joh(n) Finlay Larwood.
The enlistment patterns of these 40 men from Quorn follow an interesting pattern. Most of the men enlisted in the first few years of the war. While some other Quorn survivors enlisted later in the war none of the soldiers who eventually died enrolled after late 1916. William, along with John Hawes and Sydney Mills, was one of these later enlistment soldiers.
Extract from the 32 Battalion Diary, 30/9/1917
Strength 47 Officers 971 Other Ranks
At 3 am grenadiers and Stokes mortars bombarded Cameron Covert and dispersed enemy. At 5am Cameron Covert again shelled and patrols penetrated to 150 yards but found all clear. A number of enemy dead were seen some distance out. Enemy shelled heavily for 5 minutes at 10am. Sniping was brisk during the day. At 9.30pm the battalion was relieved by the 9th Liecester Regiment and marched back to Dickebush. No casualties occurred during the relief. Lt Johnson wounded. 13 O/R killed, 30 O/R wounded in action.
William came from Boolcunda East. Like many of the soldiers from Quorn, he was a farmer. He enlisted in October 1916 and embarked on the Berrima at Adelaide in mid December. During his time in training in Adelaide he was admonished with 2 days loss of pay, as he had absconded from the Mitcham training camp for a short while.
Before arriving in Davenport, England he spent about 16 days in the ships hospital with measles.
On the 18th of February 1917 he marched into Hurdcott for training and left there in early July to go overseas.
He was taken on strength by 32 Battalion on the first day of August and was killed on the last day of September near Polygon Wood.
Tyne Cot cemetery was originally a site of some German bunkers. After being captured, the Australians turned one into a dressing station. The first graves were placed there around the end of 1917. The site changed hands a number of times during the war and afterwards a number of smaller cemeteries and lone graves were “bought in”.
In 1921 William was bought in to Tyne Cot cemetery. His body appears to have been identified by a clothing label still held in the Australian archives.