No. 31342 Gunner William Joseph Dunne
William Dunne was born at Yarraville, Victoria on 7 July 1896 to John and Ada Dunne.
He had four brothers:
and four sisters:
- Jessie Mabel Dunne
- Elsie May
- Agnes Maud
- Lilian Ada
Before joining up, William had done a five year Carpentry apprenticeship with Mitchell & Co of Footscray, and was a member of the Kingsville Band.
At the time of his enlistment, he and his brother were living at the RAGA Barracks at Queenscliffe, Victoria. The family home was at “Glenluce”, Williamstown Road, West Footscray, Victoria. In 1916, West Footscray and Kingsville were part of the Shire of Werribee.
At age 20, William enlisted in the A.I.F. on the 10 October 1916 at the RAGA Barracks in Queenscliff, Victoria. Both of his parents gave their written consent to his application.
He was then moved to Maribyrnong and joined the 23rd Reinforcements / 2 F.A. Brigade (Field Artillery Brigade), 1st Division Artillery.
The 23rd Reinforcements departed Melbourne per Orontes on 23 December 1916, and arrived at Plymouth, England on 17 February 1917. His first base was the No 3 Camp at Parkhouse, Shipton Bellinger, Hampshire.
William was taken on strength in the 338th Siege Battery at Stowlangtoft, Suffolk, England, on 1 March 1917 and remained with them until they were disbanded in July 1917.
[The Battery had been formed in England on 20 December 1916 for the 36th Heavy Artillery Group. It was intended to equip this battery with 6 inch Howitzers, but was disbanded July 1917; personnel were sent to the 54th and 55th Siege Batteries, to enable them to increase from four howitzers apiece to six.]
On 24 July 1917, William embarked from Southampton and arrived at Rouelles in France on the next day. Three days later he marched out to the 36th Heavy Artillery Group, pending absorption, and on the 19 August 1917 he was transferred to the 55th Siege Battery.
William received gunshot wounds to both legs on 01 October 1917, 'In the Field', near Ypres, Belgium. He received treatment at 11th Australian Field Ambulance, who transferred him to the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance on the following day. From there he went to the 17 C.C.S. [Casualty Clearing Station]. It was there that he died of his wounds, aged 21.
He was buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, 1¾ miles SW of Poperingle, Belgium.
Gunner W. J. Dunne’s death was reported in two editions of the Advertiser Newspaper in Footscray:
“Gunner W. J. Dunne, of Williamstown Road, Yarraville, is reported as dead from wounds received on Oct. 2. His photo will appear next issue.”
Advertiser (Footscray, Vic), 27 October 1917, p.3.
Advertiser (Footscray, Vic) 3 November 1917, p.3.
[His brothers (No. 913, Private Charles Hilder Dunne and No. 11717, Driver Rupert Arthur Dunne) both returned to Australia after the war.]
Medals & Entitlements:
- British War Medal - received by family on 18 August 1921
- Victory Medal - received by family on 1 May 1923
- Memorial Plaque - received by family on 10 November 1922
- Memorial Scroll & King’s Message - received by family on 22 September 1922
Three photos of his grave were received by his family on 24 November 1921.