The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra
|Trooper Later Acting Sergeant Albert Williams|
Name of Ancestor: Albert David Rees Williams
Ancestor's date of birth: 09/02/1883
Ancestor's date of death: 04/01/1964
Cause of Death: Prostate Cancer
Service Number: 2916
Colony or State of enlistment: NSW Place of Enlistment: Sydney
Unit: 3 rd New South Wales Mounted Rifles
Rank attained in Boer War: TPR, Date Effective: 29/02/1901
Highest Rank attained (if served after war): Acting Sergeant Date Effective: 1917
Murray Page: 142
Contingent: Fifth New South Wales
Ship: Maplemore Date of Sailing: 15/03/1901
Memorial details: Not known
Decorations: Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal
Personal Characteristics: Put up his age to enlist. At the time of he was living in a house called "Strathmore" in Silver Street, St Peters. In his enlistment form he is described as 21 years old, 1.75 metres tall, of dark complexion, with blue eyes and dark hair.
Reasons to go and fight: A keen young man seeking to serve his country.
Details of service in war: It isn't known which squadron Trooper Williams embarked with, but it is probable that he had a fortnight's training and embarked on the troop transport "Maplemore" on 15 March, arriving at Port Elizabeth on 12 April. For almost a year (2 May 01 to 28 April 02) all of the troops in the regiment (approx 545) commanded by Ltieutenant Colonel Charles Cox fought in the Eastern Transvaal and the Eastern River Colony as part of the much larger British and Colonial forces in Colonel Rimington's column which took part in several major actions, most notably "the Harrismith Drive" which resulted in the capture of 251 prisoners, 2,000 horses and 26,000 cattle. Trooper Williams was discharged, with a Good Conduct record, on 12 June 1902 in Sydney, and to help his transition back to civilian life, was given the sum of £1-5-0 Plain Clothes Allowance, and a Gratuity of £5-0-0 paid under Army Order AO150 [promulgated January 1900].
Details of service after war: As with many soldiers and officers who served in the Anglo-Boer War, Albert Williams enlisted to fight in the 1st World War. He lined up on 13 December 1916, at the age of 33, this time as a Sapper, joining the 6th BGROC [Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company] of the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Forces. He was discharged back in Sydney on 27 December 1919, again with Good Conduct, after a total of three years and 15 days service, of which two years 193 days were served abroad. Although the War ended on 11 November 1918, Sapper (by then Acting Sergeant) Williams stayed behind in France to assist the French to reconstruct their railway system and get the trains running again. On his Discharge certificate his occupation was noted as "Railway Employee" and he had apparently lost an inch in height, to 5' 8" since his discharge from the Boer War. His intended address had become "Glen Iris", Oswell Street, Rockdale, in Sydney. This time Mr Williams became the owner of the standard issue Civilian Suit and Cap, and was also issued with the Returned Soldiers Badge, No. 181108. There is no mention of a monetary gratuity. He died 4 January 1964 and is survived by his son David Williams, who provided much of the information for this article. Other sources were R L Wallace "The Australians at War", the Canberra War Memorial web site and the Boer War Memorial Committee's web site.