William Henry Witheridge

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† Witheridge, Private William Henry no.6403.

18th Battalion 18th Reinforcements.

“Stafford Villa” Lincoln Street, Campsie.

Nut and bolt worker.

Born 1898, son of Harry & Annie Witheridge.

Enlisted at Campsie 19/6/1916, aged 18.

Single.

Church of England.

DT 8/11/1916 Portrait SMH 15/10/1917.

Mrs A.E. Witheridge, of Lincoln Street, Campsie, has been informed that her son, Private William Henry Witheridge, has been Killed in Action. He was 19 years of age, and left in November last year. His brother Private James Witheridge, was killed at the landing at Gallipoli on April 25th 1915, and another brother, Chief Stoker John Frederick Witheridge, was lost when H.M.S. Vanguard was destroyed, a fourth brother, Private Harold Witheridge, is still in the firing line.

Casualty list SMH 23/10/1917 Killed in action.

20/9/1917 (there is also a duplicate listing under the name of Alexander Vivian Witheridge).

Killed in action at Polygon Wood 20/9/1917.

Memorial on the Menin Gate.

AWM File IDRL428 Letters to the British Red Cross re Australian servicemen:

Private V.E. Shotter no.6144 18th Battalion C Company, Hut 10, Westham, 25/1/1918:

I was told by two of his mates whose names I don't remember but they were of the same reinforcements as himself, that Witheridge was killed by a shell at Zonnebeke, Ypres, and that he was buried just behind the front line there, but that no cross had been erected.

Private H.H. Witheridge no.4558 19th Battalion, Westham, 18/1/1918:

W.H. Witheridge is my brother. I have a letter from Chaplain Higgins. He tells me that my brother was killed in action in a stunt on September 20th after the objective had been taken, being killed through an ammunition dump being exploded by the enemy, he having been detailed to carry ammunition from the dump and that he is buried on the field.

Private J. McCarthy no.2423 18th Battalion H Company 3rd Platoon, 3rd AAH Dartford, 18/ 3/1918:

I saw him killed at Ypres. He was caught by a shell fragment, which severed one leg. He only lived a few moments. Casualty happened whilst we were in action. I knew him very well, he came from Sydney. He was on the Naval Training Ship "Tingara" prior to enlistment. We held the ground but I do not know place of burial, and I cannot refer to anyone for details.

Private Frank Wilkins no.2767 18th AIF A Company IV Platoon, 3rd Southern General Hospital, Oxford, 18/3/1918:

I was with Private W.H. Witheridge (18.A.III) when he was killed on September 20th near Anzac House (Ypres). We had finished the attack and I was taking him back on an ammunition fatigue with several others. He was very brave, and had volunteered to come with me although it was a dangerous expedition. Our party was spread out, and he had a shell all to himself, and he was very severely wounded. He spoke after he was hit, but died within a couple of minutes. He was probably buried on the spot. There are a number buried there. I have not seen his grave. I think the relations will like to know that he volunteered.

Eyewitness - Yes

Description - The last son of five who were killed, single. I can give no more particulars.

Letters received by Mrs A.E. Witheridge (mother), Lincoln Street, Campsie.

Extract of letter from Rev C.N. Higgins 27/9/ 1917:

“Our Battalion, of which I am Chaplain, took part in the successful attack upon the German lines beyond Ypres last week, and your son showed himself a fine soldier up to the time he was hit. His Company had the task of taking a strongly fortified blockhouse, and just before it surrendered, your son was killed by machine gun fire. He was buried near by, and we are erecting a cross to his memory”.

Extract of letter from Sergeant G.H. Duncan:

“After we had gained our objective, he volunteered to go back and get ammunition for the front line troops, and it was then that a piece of shell hit him, causing his death”.

Anzac Memorial: Killed in Action 20/9/1917.

[Annie E. Witheridge died in 1921].


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Special acknowledgement

The primary source of the information on this page is copied from the prize winning publication Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe. This book is the culmination of 12 years (1988-2000) research by a team of volunteers from the Canterbury and District Historical Society led by Dr Lesley Muir. Without this team's effort and dedication and the Society's willingness and support, this information would not be available today.

Note

An uneditable version of the book Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe is in the eBook section of this wiki. In the main section, there is an alphabetical list of the 1,911 individuals recorded in the book - the list is titled Canterbury's Boys List. Every name is linked to an editable version of the individual’s biography copied from the Canterbury’s Boys book. These editable biographical files have been created to provide the space for descendants, historians, researchers, etc to add information, photographs, newspaper articles, memories, etc. they have discovered so it is available for this and future generations.

Reference

Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe. Edited by Lesley Muir. Campsie, N.S.W. : Canterbury and District Historical Society, 2002