The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Trooper (later Warrant Officer) William Maclaren

Ancestor Details

Ancestor's Name: William James Maclaren

Ancestor's date of birth: 26/10/1874

Ancestor's date of death: 08/05/1915

Cause of Death: Killed in Action, Gallipoli Campaign

Service and Life Before the Boer War: He did his early schooling at Fryerstown, and moved on to Castlemaine Grammar. In December 1891, at 17 years, he passed his Matriculation Exams, to Melbourne University. He spent about 4 years at University. Undertook military training at Langwarren, Victoria prior to service In the Boer War. Son of a miner also called William, he worked as a miner.

Service Number: 2420

Colony or State of enlistment: VIC, Place of Enlistment: Langwarren

Unit: 4th Battalion, Australian Commonwealth Horse

Rank attained in Boer War: TPR, Date Effective: 17/02/1902

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): WO2, Date Effective: 30/04/1915

Murray Page: 323 (McLaren in Murray)

Contingent: Second Australian.

Ship: Templemore, Date of Sailing: 26/05/1902

Memorial details: Helles Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula. Roll of Honour, Australian War memorial, Canberra, ACT.

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Queen's South Africa Medal with Transvaal and South Africa 1902 clasps. 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.

Personal Characteristics: Height 174 cm, weight 70 kg (1914), Complexion Medium, Eyes grey, Hair black (going grey in 1914).

Reasons to go and fight: For hiws Country.

Details of service in war: May 1902, was involved in the escort of Boer delegates across Wool's Bridge on the Buffalo River then to the peace conference at Vereeniging south of Pretoria.

Service and life after the Boer War: Served 6 years in Militia at Castlemaine, Victoria (8 Australian Infantry Regiment) reaching the rank of sergeant. On 28 June 1905, William James Maclaren married Mary Donnes, a saleswoman from Melbourne. They had the following family: Donald Maclaren 1906, Thelma Maclaren 1908, William Maurice Maclaren 1910, Alaine Maclaren 1912.

In 1908, Will decided to become a School Teacher, he passed all the necessary Exams, and was authorised for Temporary Employment. His first appointment as Temporary Head Teacher was at Pannoomilloo, near Rochester from 3 November - 31 December 1908. His second appointment was at Muckleford, in the Castlemaine area, from 1 February to 18 April 1909. From 19 April to 6 July 1909, he taught at Sandy Creek, in the St Arnaud area. [later called Rostron]. On 7 July 1909, Will was sent to the isolated area of Wakiti Creek. This was 11 kilometres from Kotupna, east of Echuca. Here he is reported to be a very good teacher, maintaining a high standard, with a good grip of country schools. He was also reported as good with his pupils, and anxious to please, he was, however, nervous at inspection times, and received a bad report for not being forceful enough. Teachers were expected to be strict and stern in those days, but he was described as being too gentle. He studied hard at Wakiti Creek, and finally passed all the exams required for permanent positions, and left the area on 31 August 1912. On 1 September 1912, he took up his first post as Head Teacher, back at Pannoomilloo. [This time there seems to be evidence that Mary lived there with him, although there is no recollection of a Teachers residence. Daughter Thelma has a clear memory (1) of going to school with her father, at age 2 or 3, with her brother Don, (that makes it about 1911). Thelma also recalls having fallen from a buggy and left on the roadside for some minutes, when Will was pointing out the new railway to Cohnua. There was a story about eating a second Christmas Cake in lieu of breakfast, when Mary was either 'Confined' or not up to get his breakfast, when the children were little. During his short Teaching Career at Pannoomilloo, Will qualified as an Instructor in Junior Cadet Training at Bendigo, between 31 and 12 April 1913.

William joined the AIF as No 872, sergeant, 7 Bn AIF on 19 August 1914. His battalion took part in the ANZAC landing at ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915, as part of the second wave. Soon after on 30 April 1915, he was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 2, and posted Company Sergeant Major. Ten days after the landing, the 2nd Brigade including the 7th Battalion was transferred from ANZAC to Cape Helles to help in the attack on the village of Krithia. The attack captured little ground but cost the brigade almost a third of its strength including Warrant Officer Maclaren who was killed on 8 May 1915.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Maureen Therese Robson (nee Maclaren), Cranbrook QLD
Relationship to Ancestor: Grand Daughter


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