WILLIAMS, Lewis Henry Clifford

NAME:  Lewis Henry Clifford  Williams                                                                     



PLACE OF BIRTH:  Broomfield




UNIT: 39th Battalion

EMBARKED:  15 August 1916


FATE:  Died of Wounds – 4 August 1917 – Trois Arbres, France

Lewis Williams, a son of Henry Lewis Williams and Bessie Evans, was born at Broomfield, north of Creswick in 1878 and the family lived at nearby Lawrence. After Lewis finished his schooling at Allendale State School, he started farming but took up mining as did his father.  In 1905, Lewis married Annie Elizabeth Grace Watson Freestone of Netherby, north of Nhill.  The couple lived at Lawrence after their marriage.  A son Reginald was born in 1906 at Ballarat and Frank at Smeaton in 1907.  Around the early 1910s, Lewis decided to farm again and moved his family moved to Lorquon West near Nhill and Gordon Lewis was born there in 1915.  Meanwhile, Lewis’ parents had moved to Hamilton and were living at Craigevar on Digby Road.

In April 1916, Lewis travelled south to Horsham and enlisted.  Two months later, his father Henry died on 13  June 1916 Craigevar, Hamilton.  On 15 August 1916, Lewis left Australia with the 39th Battalion and Annie and the children moved to Mordialloc in his absence.  Lewis arrived at Plymouth, England on 2 October 1916 and left for France on 23 November, joining his battalion on 25 March 1917 in Northern France. The battalion was at Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium by the end of April.  The battalion remained in the Flanders area over the next few months, including at Messines.

ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE 39TH BATTALION AT MESSINES ON 7 JUNE 1917. Image courtesy of the State Library of Victoria https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C194978

On  3 August, the battalion was near Dickebusch when Lewis was hit by a shell.  A witness said he was eating his breakfast. He was taken to the  2nd Casualty Clearing Station at Trois Arbres near the Belgium/French border with multiple wounds to his limbs and eyes.  Lewis died there on 4 August and was buried at the nearby Trois Arbres Cemetery.

In 1918, Lewis’ wife Annie and children returned to Netherby from Melbourne before moving to Ararat.  The following year, Lewis’ mother Bessie died at Hamilton. By the mid-1920s, Annie was living in Horsham and married James Scott. The couple moved to Launceston, Tasmania.

A tree was planted for Lewis along Hamilton’s Anzac Avenue.


Australian War Memorial – 39th Battalion Unit Diary

Australian War Memorial – Red Cross Missing and Wounded Files – Lewis Henry Clifford Williams

Australian War Memorial – Roll of Honour – Lewis Henry Clifford Williams

Australian War Memorial – WW1 Embarkation Roll – Lewis Henry Clifford Williams

Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, France – Lewis Henry Clifford Williams

Discovering Anzacs – WW1 Service Record – Lewis Henry Clifford Williams

Newspaper Articles from Trove – Lewis Henry Clifford Williams

The AIF Project – Lewis Henry Clifford Williams