No. 3523 Private William Francis Joseph Fogarty
William Fogarty’s birth was registered in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales to John and Johanna Fogarty in 1899. He had a brother named John Fogarty who was also in the A.I.F. at the same time. In fact their Service Numbers were very close; William was No.3533, and John was No.3525.
After Johanna’s husband John died, the family moved to Edgar Street in West Footscray, and then later to the Queensville Estate, on the eastern side of the Werribee Shire.
William enlisted in the A.I.F. at Melbourne on 20 July 1915 and stated that he was 18 years and 1 month old. According to a newspaper report published after his death, he was in fact just 16 years old when he embarked overseas. The age of 16 is confirmed by subtracting his registered birth year from the year of his enlistment. His mother Johanna gave her written consent to his application to enlist and stated that his father was deceased. William gave his civilian occupation as a painter. Johanna also gave her consent for her son John (aged 19) to enlist in August of the same year.
He did his recruit training with the 12th Battalion between 21 July and 14 October 1915 and was then transferred to 7 Company at the Geelong Camp in Victoria. William moved to 'D' Company at Geelong on 22 November 1915 and was placed in the 8/22 Battalion.
The two brothers embarked from Melbourne of 5 January 1916 per H.M.A.T. Afric A19, bound for Egypt. It carried the 22 Infantry Battalion – 1 to 8 Reinforcements.
Both brothers served with the 57th Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir Camp at Ismalia, Egypt from 23 February 1916. They were moved from the 57th Battalion to the 5th Pioneer Battalion on 4 March 1916. This would have made them original members of that Battalion, which was primarily formed with men from South Australia. At its peak, the Tel-el-Kebir camp held 40,000 Australians and was 6 miles in length.
They both embarked from Alexandria in Egypt on the 19 June 1916 on the Canada to join the B.E.F. and arrived at Marseilles on the 25 June 1916. The two brothers fought together in France, until John was admitted to hospital in March 1917 suffering with pericarditis and pleurisy. This resulted in him being evacuated to England.
William fought 'In the Field' in France and Belgium for 15 months until he was badly wounded. On the 30 September 1917, while in action at Ypres in Belgium, he was shot in the face and received a fractured jaw. He also received injury to his spine. For some reason, the full details of William’s wounds are now in the service file of his brother John.
As a result of the bullet wound he was first treated at the 83rd General Hospital on 4 October 1917 and then sent to England. After receiving treatment at Queen’s Hospital, Sidcup, William died of his wounds on 18 October 1917. Aged 20, or was it 17?
He was buried in the Australian Military Burial Ground, at the Brookwood Cemetery, Brookwood, England and his brother John was at the graveside for the service. His grave is No. 179904. (Plot 11, Row C, Grave 23)
A form sent to his family states the following:-
"Remarks of Interest for Next of Kin.
The deceased soldier was accorded a Military Funeral, Firing Party and Bugler being supplied by the A.I.F. Administrative Headquarters, London. The service at the graveside was officiated by the Rev. N. F. Hoare who ministered to the deceased soldier whilst in Hospital.
The Last Post was sounded at the graveside. The polished Elm coffin was draped with the Australian Flag.
No. 3525 Private Fogarty, J. 5th Pioneer Battalion (Brother of deceased soldier) was present at the funeral. [He was based at No 6 Camp, Sutton Veny.]
An oak cross will be erected by the A.I.F."
His Mother received a pension of £2 per fortnight, beginning on 20 December 1917.
Medals & Entitlements:
- British War Medal – received 12 January 1922
- Victory Medal – received 17 February 1923
- Memorial Scroll – received 16 November 1921
- Memorial Plaque – received 19 February 1922
William Francis Joseph Fogarty is recorded incorrectly on the Wyndham Cenotaph as "FOGARTY, W.P."
Fogarty, W.F. from West Footscray (K) was listed in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 13 February 1919, p.3. (and subsequent editions)
N.S.W. – B.D.M. Web site.