World War One Medals that tell the tale of a soldier with a rather colourful record.
These are the WW1 medals for Pte George Victor Russell Williams 22 Bn AIF who fought in WW1, reinlisted for WW2 and died on Active Service in WW2 aged 48, as V4972 Sapper GVR Williams RAE. He is listed on AWM Roll of Honour.
When researching this soldier one of the first things that strikes you is that he was wounded in action on four occasions during WW1 (shot three times and gassed once).
Digging a little further though, it soon became apparent that being wounded wasn't the only trouble that this lad got himself into whilst in uniform.
Below are some interesting insights from his WW1 records that feature a very colourful series of run ins with military law and discipline. It makes you wonder just how much fun he was having on some of the several Absent Without Leave instances.
It would have been quite a task to be the NCO or Officer of this rebellious young soldier it seems. We are now looking to see what his WW2 records might say (if available?) to see whether a more mature soldier got into slightly less trouble than he did in WW1.
So many stories sit behind the service medals of the young men who fought and suffered from Gallipoli, The Middle East and the Western Front during the First World War.
Some facts and tales from the records of this soldier:
Enlisted for WW1 Jul 1915 as a 19 year old Baker from Hawthorn Vic.
Wounded In Action 4 times on the Western Front.
1st – October 4th 1917 G.S.W left shoulder, evacuated to England
2nd – May 19th 1918 G.S.W to the face
3rd – July 23rd 1918 Gassed
4th – October 3rd 1918 G.S.W to the abdomen, evacuated to England.
Highlights and incidents taken from his records:
Disembarked Marseilles 27 Mar 1916, awarded 14 days CC 12th May 1916, transferred to England with neurasthenia 15th June 1916, granted furlough 30th Aug 1916, back from furlough 14th Sept 1916.
AWL from 16th Sept 1916 to 25th Sept 1916 and neglected standing orders, awarded forfeiture of 20 days pay.
Sent to France 13th Dec 1916, re-joins the 22nd Bn 18th Dec 1916, fell out of the ranks without permission on 2nd 1917 and forfeits 2 days pay.
AWL from parades from 11/13 Jan 1917, total forfeiture of 23 days pay.
On the 18th Jan 1917 he refused to obey an order given by a superior officer and was awarded 28 days Field Punishment.
Admitted to hospital with a scalded leg 28th Mar 1917, Bapaume whilst on fatigues, not his fault. Transferred to England 13th Apr 1917 and discharged from hospital 21st June 1917.
AWL for 2 days from 6th Jul 1917 and awarded 3 days of CC and forfeits 3 days pay.
Returns to France 30th Jul 1917, re-joins 22nd Bn 20th Aug 1917, absent from parade for one day on 21st Aug 1917 and awarded 168 hours FP and forfeits 21 days pay.
WIA first occasion 4th October 1917, gun shot wound to left shoulder and transferred to England.
7th Mar 1918 returns to France.
WIA second occasion 19th May 1918, gun shot wound to face. Re-joins 22nd Bn 3rd June 1918.
23rd Jul 1918 WIA third occasion, gassed.
WIA fourth occasion, gun shot wound to abdomen 3rd Oct 1918, transferred to England 10th Oct 1918. Discharged from hospital 22nd Nov 1918, and granted furlough, failed to report to Hurdcott 6th Dec 1918, at a DCM held 14th Jan 1919 he was charged as AWL from 6th Dec 1918 to 9th Jan 1919 (33 days) and was sentenced to 90 days detention.
Admitted to detention Barracks Lewes 22nd Jan 1919 and discharged 8th Apr 1919 5 days short of sentence.
Admitted to hospital again with gastric enteritis 9th Apr 1919, and discharged to duty 17th May 1919.
RTA 1st Jul 1919.