• Humphrey Williams

Army / Flying Corps
  • 12th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 3rd Brigade
  • Private

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  • Enlistment - WW1

    Morphettville SA 5043, Australia

  • Birth

    Newborough, Wales

Stories and comments
    • Humphrey Owen Williams - an Anglesey ANZAC
    • Posted by hmsglasgow, Saturday, 16 January 2021

    Born Humphrey Owen Williams 17.12.1874 at Newborough, Anglesey, North Wales. Son of William Morris Williams, sailor, and Jane Williams of Talybraich Terrace, Newborough. Mother died about 1877, father remarried a Catherine Owen in the 1880s. By 1891 his father had become a Carpenter/Joiner, resident Rhouse Farm. Humphrey was a sailor aged 16 at that time. In October 1892 he reached Sydney NSW as crew member on the steel sailing barque "Meinwen" of Liverpool. The ship made a number of voyages from Liverpool to South Africa and Australia. Sometime in the period 1899-1902 he seems to have joined the Uitenhage Volunteer Rifles in the Eastern Cape Colony, S.Africa, during the Anglo-Boer War, and earned the Queens S.Africa Medal as Private 1158. On 14.9.1914 he enlisted at Morphettville, S.Australia, as Pte. 1121 in the 12th Australian Infantry (1st Reinforcements). Though now aged 39 years 9 months he lowered it to 36 yrs. 9 months on enlistment. He left with the 1st Reinforcement Draft from Melbourne on 22.12.14 and joined the main battalion in Egypt. Embarked with the unit 2 March 1915 for service with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. He landed with the unit on 25 April 1915 at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, and was initially reported "Wounded and missing 25-28 April", but by 1916 this had become "Declared killed in action 25 April 1915". His body was not recovered. One of 72 fatalities to the 12th Battalion that day. Apparently attempts were made to contact his next of kin, not helped by the fact that he had stated this to be "William Williams, Wales". He was first mistaken for another ANZAC casualty of roughly the same name from Anglesey, but in the end no family could apparently be traced, and his medals were eventually returned to Australia from the official storage place in the UK in 1946. There were no claimants for his back pay, memorial plaque, King's Scroll or the few personal effects. His stepmother had died 1916, and his father in 1920, still living at the farm in Newborough. A younger brother William Morris Williams was a Minister with the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist denomination and lived elsewhere on Anglesey, dying 1926. There were also cousins and other relatives in and around Newborough, and elsewhere on the Island, so it is curious that they were apparently never traced. The locality did become aware that he had died, and he is mentioned on the two local war memorials in front of Newborough Parish Church and the Pritchard-Jones Institute in the village, both showing his address as Rhouse. His name is also on the Newborough panel of the North Wales Memorial Arch in Bangor, Gwynedd. He was also mentioned as a member of Ebenezer Welsh CM Church, Newborough, who had died in the war. He is named on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, Roll of Honour panel 68.