Profiles

David William Willcox (1895-1917)

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Born 5 Oct 1895 • Uraidla, South Australia, Australia 1Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society and ...continue
Died 11 Oct 1917 • Lijssenthoek, Poperinge, West Flanders, Belgium 6David’s war records were originally sourced via the National Archives of Australia (NAA): ...continue 2 David’s Red Cross records were originally sourced via the Australian War Memorial: Australian ...continue
Buried 11 Oct 1917 • Lijssenthoek, Poperinge, West Flanders, Belgium 3David’s war records were originally sourced via the National Archives of Australia (NAA): ...continue 4 David’s Red Cross records were originally sourced via the Australian War Memorial: Australian ...continue
 
 
David (known to his family and friends as Dave) was the oldest son of Martha Gates and William Willcox. 5Source withheld as it identifies privacy-protected family members. He was born at Uraidla in 1895 and attended Uraidla public school. 7Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society and ...continue 8THE LATE PRIVATE WILLCOX. (1917, November 3). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954), p. 39. ...continue He was held in high regard by his community and an article published in the Chronicle praised his ‘many manly qualities’ and his prowess as an athlete, footballer, and tennis player. 9THE LATE PRIVATE WILLCOX. (1917, November 3). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954), p. 39. ...continue
 
David enlisted to fight in the Great War at the age of 21 on 12 October 1916 being deemed medically fit. He was able to enlist despite having no fifth finger on his left hand, slight flat feet, and an old fracture to an elbow which must have troubled him from time to time as he was seen by two officers on 16 January 1917 and advised to ‘carry on’. 10David’s war records were originally sourced via the National Archives of Australia (NAA): ...continue
 
He joined the 5th Pioneer Battalion, undertaking his initial training in Adelaide, and departed Adelaide on 10 February 1917 where he was destined for further training at the military camps of Fovant and Rollestone. 11David’s war records were originally sourced via the National Archives of Australia (NAA): ...continue 12THE LATE PRIVATE WILLCOX. (1917, November 3). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954), p. 39. ...continue 13The Australian War Memorial hosts an image of soldiers training to throw grenades which is in the ...continue
 
His training was interrupted on 30 May 1917 when he was admitted to the military hospital at Fovant to receive treatment for measles. He was discharged on 21 June 1917. On 12 July 1917 he was transferred to the 27th Australian Infantry Battalion. On joining this unit he may have been transferred to Rollestone training camp (his date of arrival at Rollestone has not been recorded). 14David’s war records were originally sourced via the National Archives of Australia (NAA): ...continue
 
While at Rollestone he went absent without leave from midnight on 2 September 1917 until 5 p.m. on 3 September 1917. He forfeited a total of three days’ pay as a consequence. David completed his training at Rollestone on 24 September 1917 and departed Southampton for France the following day. He joined the 27th Battalion on 3 October 1917 and was a stretcher bearer at Ypres. He turned 22 two days later. 15 David’s Red Cross records were originally sourced via the Australian War Memorial: Australian ...continue
 
At the request of David’s family, his injury and final days were investigated by the Red Cross. From witness statements provided by Privates William Henry Livesay, Horace William Butler, and Jack Evans and with a statement from the staff of the 17th Casualty Clearing Station, it was revealed that David had been hit by shrapnel while performing his duties as a stretcher bearer. He was unconscious and in a critical condition on arrival at the clearing station with severe shell wounds to the head. He died at 1.30 a.m. the following day and was buried that day. This information was conveyed to David’s father, William, in a letter dated 1 August 1918. 16 David’s Red Cross records were originally sourced via the Australian War Memorial: Australian ...continue David’s service record indicates that he was wounded on 9 October, admitted to the clearing station on 10 October, and died on 11 October. 17David’s war records were originally sourced via the National Archives of Australia (NAA): ...continue
 
David’s time on active service and the aftermath of his death reveal the agony of the Great War. He spent approximately six days in the field before dying of his wounds at the age of 22. The first anniversary of his enlistment was the day after his death and burial. While the family received timely news of his death they did not receive the particulars of his death for over nine months and must have been left imagining the worst. The nature of his injury suggests he did not suffer and that may have been a comfort.
 
David’s place of burial became the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. 18Commonwealth War Graves Commission, “WILLCOX, DAVID WILLIAM”, Commonwealth War Graves ...continue 19Find A Grave, database and images ...continue
 
To be continued…20This is a work in progress. Citations and family links are being batch-added to profiles.
 

References   [ + ]

1, 7. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society and Macbeth Genealogical Services, South Australian births, registrations 1842 to 1906. South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society; Hampton, Vic.: Macbeth Genealogical Services, Adelaide, S. Aust, 1998.
2, 4, 15, 16. David’s Red Cross records were originally sourced via the Australian War Memorial: Australian Red Cross, “Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files: David William Willcox”, Australian War Memorial, https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/R1476217, accessed 18 Apr 2007. While still hosted at this location, the State Library of South Australia has created an excellent website collating information about service personnel: South Australian Red Cross Information Bureau 1916-1919, “David William Willcox”, State Library of South Australia, https://sarcib.ww1.collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/soldier/david-william-willcox, accessed 11 Dec 2019.
3, 6, 10, 11, 14, 17. David’s war records were originally sourced via the National Archives of Australia (NAA): Australian Government, “NAA: B2455, WILLCOX DAVID WILLIAM”, National Archives of Australia, https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=8389748, accessed 18 Apr 2007. While still hosted at this location, the NAA and Archives New Zealand have partnered to produce Discovering Anzacs: National Archives of Australia and Archives New Zealand. “David William Willcox”. Discovering Anzacs. https://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/person/360978 , accessed 11 Dec 2019.
5. Source withheld as it identifies privacy-protected family members.
8, 9, 12. THE LATE PRIVATE WILLCOX. (1917, November 3). Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954), p. 39. Retrieved December 11, 2019, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article87413661
13. The Australian War Memorial hosts an image of soldiers training to throw grenades which is in the public domain: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P10688.011.002
18. Commonwealth War Graves Commission, “WILLCOX, DAVID WILLIAM”, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/431894/willcox,-david-william/, accessed 11 Dec 2019.
19. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/12072437/david-william-willcox: accessed 11 December 2019), memorial page for Private David William Willcox (5 Oct 1895–11 Oct 1917), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12072437, citing Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Arrondissement Ieper, West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen), Belgium; Maintained by IWPP Custodial Account (contributor 48586138).
20. This is a work in progress. Citations and family links are being batch-added to profiles.