William FAINT MM+Bar

Poppy

FAINT, William

Service Number: 355
Enlisted: 19 August 1914, Morphettville, South Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Hindmarsh, South Australia, 27 December 1895
Home Town: Hindmarsh, Charles Sturt, South Australia
Schooling: Hindmarsh Public School
Occupation: Locomotive Engine Cleaner (S.A.R.)
Died: Killed in Action, Crepy Wood, Harbonnieres, Somme, France, 11 August 1918, aged 22 years
Cemetery: Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
No known grave. (His spirit rests in his family grave, Hindmarsh Cemetery, South Australia)
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial (WW1), Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, HindmarshHB5*, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)*
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 355, Morphettville, South Australia
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 355, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 355, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 355, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli
17 May 1915: Wounded Private, SN 355, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC Gallipoli, Shell wound (left cheek)
6 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 355, 10th Infantry Battalion, The August Offensive - Lone Pine, Suvla Bay, Sari Bair, The Nek and Hill 60 - Gallipoli
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 355, 10th Infantry Battalion, Pozières
1 Aug 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, 10th Infantry Battalion
20 Jun 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 355, 10th Infantry Battalion, Merris (France)
11 Aug 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 355, 10th Infantry Battalion, "The Last Hundred Days"

Killed in action - letter from his fiancee

Alexandra Hotel
Fishergate
Peston Lancs

Dear madam,

Please pardon this liberty, but I wish to thank you for your kindness and the trouble you have taken to trace my fiancee. It has been a sorry time for me, we were to have been married when he came back, I was expecting every day, and was ready for the wedding, there is only one consolation, he died bravely and I think by the reports he was well liked. Oh he was fine I don't think it is possible for me to ever forget him.

I wrote to his brother very often who is a prisoner in Germany, but I've got no answers to my letters.Sincerely would you advise me what to do in this matter. I'm so sorry to trouble you things must be so busy at this present time in your office. Trusting you will accept my sincere thanks, I remain yours

A Allen

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Recommendation - Bar to the Military Medal

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On the night of 29/30 July at Merris. He took out a patrol of 5 men in front of our newly established positions and captured 17 prisoners and 1 machine gun, besides killing about 20 of the enemy with bombs. Later on the same day he was on patrol of 2 men and captured another post capturing 2 men and a machine gun.

He showed great gallantry throughout the operation and set a fine example to the rest of the platoon.

Recommendation - Military Medal (subsequently awarded)

On the morning of 23rd July near MERRIS, this NCO located an enemy post while in charge of a small patrol. Carefully working his way to the rear of the post, Sgt Faint rushed this post and captured 8 un-wounded prisoners and 1 machine gun.

This NCO has always set a splendid example in active operations by his bravery and determination.

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Biography

Son of Thomas FAINT and Sarah Alice nee NICHOLSON

"RAILWAY MEN FOR THE FRONT.

There was a large gathering of railway employes at the Selborne Hotel on September 4, when a farewell was accorded fourteen members of the Locomotive Running Department at Mile-End, who will leave with the South Australian expeditionary force. They are:— Messrs. J. Boucher, W. J. Perry, K. O. Sanders, M. Kay, W. Faint, R. Pickering, W. Whitelaw, J. Featherston, W. Leach, F. Richardson, J. James, J. Harris, R. Durbin, and Graham. They entered the room to the accompaniment of bagpipe music played by Mr. R. Linton, and loud cheering. Mr. B. F. Rushton (chief mechanical engineer) presided, and other officers present were Messrs. H. B. Hayman (outdoor running superintendent), T. W. Messenger (district loco. superintendent at Mile End), J. Dalgleish (loco. foreman), D. Collier (night foreman), and T. Nave (chief timekeeper). Patriotic speeches were delivered, and each of the guests was presented with a set of military brushes." - from the Adelaide Chronicle 12 Sep 1914 (trove.nla.gov.au)

William Faint was not yet 19 years old when he enlisted in August 1914, and was assigned to the 10th Battalion.  He embarked with the Battalion on 20 October 1915 aboard the HMAT Ascanius, disembarking in Egypt on 1 December 1914.

He landed with the Battalion at ANZAC in the first wave ashore pre dawn on the 25th April 1915. On the 19th May the date of the great Turkish counter attack, William Faint was evacuated wounded to Alexandria with a gun shot wound (rated severe) to the left side of his face.

He rejoined the Battalion six weeks later, only to be wounded yet again during the fighting at Lone Pine, where the 10th Battalion and the rest of the 3rd Brigade were the Divisional Reserve.  This time he had another close call with a gun shot wound to his left ear. He was evacuated to Cairo where his wound proved not to be severe and he was duly discharged to duty in mid September, finally returning to the battalion in early October.  He served out the balance of the campaign on the Peninsula.

"SOCKS APPRECIATED.

Miss LeLievre had gratifying evidence the other day that her labour in sock making had not been in vain in the shape of a short letter of thanks from a Renmark recruit, Pte. Quarrel, to whom a pair of socks with a note in them from Miss LeLievre had been handed out. More recently Miss Doris LeLievre received the following letter from Pte. W. Faint, B Coy., 10th A.I.F.:— "Dear Friend— Just to let you know that your pair of socks reached my hands. I am now wearing them and they feel A1. I have had plenty of clothes issued to me, but this is   the first time I have had any notes in them. I have been wounded twice and coming this trip I was short of socks and I got a pair, so you know that they reached an Adelaide boy. All the boys are watching me write, and they want me to put a word in for them. This leaves me in the best of health. Hoping that this finds you in the best of health." - from the Renmark Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record 16 Dec 1915 (nla.gov.au)

He was appointed Lance Corporal just before the evacuation, but after a disciplinary misdemeanour back in Egypt he was reduced to the rank of Private in January but by March he had been promoted to full Corporal.  The Battalion embarked for France in early April.

he was hospitalised in May in Ballieul with pneumonia, before rejoining the unit via Etaples just in time for Pozieres / Mouquet Farm.  He was appointed Lance Sergeant on 4 August just prior to the Battalion being committed to the attack at Mouquet Farm and in October, when the Battalion had moved to Belgium, he was promoted Sergeant.

 In March 1917 he was posted to the UK as an instructor at Larkhill and then to Chelsea in London, before assignment to the 67th Training Battalion.  it is preumably at this time that he met the young woman MS A Allen, who was to become his fiancee.

He returned to the 10th Battalion on 5 October 1917, as the final phase of Third Ypres was underway.  He served through Paschendaele and then the consolidation phase as the campaign ground to a halt in miserable winter weather.

In February 1918 he was detached to the Divisional school as an instructor once again for two months before scoring a role with a representative platoon in Paris (that would have been a highly sought after assignement!) in early July as the 10th Battlion deployed to Merris in northern France.  He returned to the Battalion on the 20th July.  In the subsequent two weeks he was engaged in a number of actions that resulted in his being recommended for a Military Medal and then almost immediately a Bar to his MM.  Both were to be awarded post humously because William was to be killed in action in the opening days of the "Last Hundred Days" campaign east of Amiens at Crepy Wood near Harbonnierres on the 11th August 1918.

He was one of eleven men killed in the same incident.  Most were buried in a common grave, described in the Red Cross investigative files.  Another decorated Sergeant, Charles Williams, also MM&Bar was killed but he was buried in nearby Heath Cemetery.

 

"THE ROLL OF HONOR. "Faithful Unto Death." AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS. DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY.

Sergeant W. FAINT, of the original 10th Battalion, third son of Mr. and Mrs. Faint, New Hindmarsh, was killed in action on August 11. After serving for four years he went to Fort Glanville on August 5, 1914 (the day after the war began), with the citizen force. He enlisted on August 19, 1914. He was then a cleaner at the Mile-End running sheds. He left Australia on October 20. 1914, and was wounded twice on Gallipoli. He left Egypt with the first contingent for France, where he remained till after the battle of Pozieres. His brother Frank was taken prisoner there, and Sergeant Faint then obtained his first leave of seven days. His younger brother is now in camp." - from the Adelaide Advertiser 12 Sep 1918 (nla.gov.au)

Service Medals: Military Medal, Bar to the Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

 

William Faint died along with the following men from the 10th Battalion at Crepy Wood on 11 August 1918

 

AHERN, James Phillip
Service number 2576B, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in Action
CAMPBELL, Daniel George
Service number 6130, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Born 5 Dec 1887, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in action
COLE, John
Service number 2450A, Lance Corporal, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in Service
FAINT, William (MM+Bar)
Service number 355, Sergeant, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Born 27 Dec 1895, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in Action
HARRISON, Frank Francis
Service number 7494, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in action
MILLER, Alexander
Service number 3547, Corporal, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Died 11 Aug 1918, Died of wounds
MUMFORD, Louis Rupert
Service number 3824, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in Service
NOBLE, Thomas Nicholas Rowe
Service number 5251, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in Service
PITT, Roy Henry
Service number 6567, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in action
SUTCLIFFE, Alexander
Service number 2800, Lance Corporal, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in action
WILLIAMS, Charles Allen (MM +2 Bars)
Service number 2700, Sergeant, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Born 2 Sep 1893, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in Action
WINKLER, Charles William
Service number 3968, Private, 10th Infantry Battalion, AIF WW1, Died 11 Aug 1918, Killed in action

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