Private William Joseph Wyatte, the son of William James Wyatte and Emily Wyatte (nee Gomm), was born at Ipswich in Queensland on 24th February 1896. He was educated at the Rosewood State School. At the age of 19 years and 8 months he voluntarily enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Brisbane in Queensland on 17th November 1915 after swearing the statutory oath that he would serve in the Military Force for the duration of the war and an additional four months. He had previously served for three years in Cadets and 1 year in the Citizen Military Forces. At the time of his enlistment he was unmarried and employed as a Labourer. His physical description at the time of enlistment was that he was 5 feet 7 inches in height and weighed 121 pounds. He had a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. He stated that he was of the Congregational religion. He gave his next of kin as his mother, Mrs Emily Wyatte, residing at Rosewood in Queensland.
Private William Wyatte’s initial military training was conducted with ‘A’ Company of the 9th Depot Battalion in the Brisbane area during the period 26th November until 16th January 1916. He was allocated to the 16th Reinforcements of the 15th Infantry Battalion on 16th January 1916. He embarked for overseas service in the Australian Imperial Force on His Majesty’s Australian Transport A16 “Star of Victoria” that left Sydney in New South Wales on 31st March 1916. He disembarked from the ship in Egypt on 5th May 1916 and joined the 4th Training Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir. As a result of the reorganisation and expansion of the Australian Imperial Force he was transferred to the 47th Infantry Battalion on 20th May 1916.
Private William Wyatte embarked for overseas service in the British Expeditionary Force from the port of Alexandria on 7th June 1916 and he disembarked from the ship at Marseilles in France on 14th June 1916. He joined the 47th Infantry Battalion in the field at Pozieres on 10th August 1916. He was wounded in action whilst serving with his battalion at Messines suffering a gunshot wound to his neck on 7th June 1917 and he was treated at the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station. He was transferred to the 12th General Hospital at Rouen on 9th June 1917. He was invalided to England on the hospital ship “Warialda” that left France on 25th June 1917 and on the following day he was admitted to the Military Hospital at Richmond. He was transferred to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford on 18th July 1917 and he remained a patient there until 25th July 1917 when he was transferred to No. 2 Command Depot at Weymouth to prepare for his return to Australia.
Private William Wyatte was invalided back to Australia for rest and recuperation on the ship “Pakeha” that left England on 28th August 1917. He disembarked from the ship at Sydney in New South Wales on 24th October 1917 and then travelled overland by rail transport to Brisbane. He was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force at No. 1 Military District Headquarters in Brisbane on 24th November 1917. For his service during World War 1 he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His name is commemorated locally on the Rosewood Honour Board, the Rosewood Congregational Church Honour Board and the Rosewood State School Honour Board. His name is incorrectly recorded as J.W. Wyatte on the Rosewood Protestant Alliance Friendly Society of Australia Honour Board.
William Wyatte and sixteen other Rosewood soldiers were accorded a farewell and presentation by the Rosewood Patriotic Committee and the Rosewood Protestant Alliance Friendly Society of Australia accorded him and six other soldiers a welcome home ceremony. The following newspaper reports give details of the functions:
The 1922 Commonwealth Electoral Roll shows a William Joseph Wyatte, occupation Labourer, residing at Calvert in Queensland.
Author: Edwin Habben O.A.M. R.F.D.
Always interesting to read of Rosewoods history & our military men & women! Thank you Edwin Habben, your books are so well researched & well worth the read.