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George Charles Wills (1888-1916)

Citation

“George Charles Wills (1888-1916),” Wyndham History, accessed September 20, 2020, http://www.wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/1687.
View Record Detail
Title

George Charles Wills (1888-1916)

Subject

Wills, George Charles

Publisher

Wyndham City Libraries

Date

1915

Contributor

Andrea Cooper

Format

text

Language

eng

Type

Text

Biographical Text

No.652  Private George Charles Wills
George Charles Wills was born in 1888, in Werribee Victoria to James Wills and Thyrza Wills (nee Griffiths). He had five brothers:

  • Alfred Thomas
  • William Albert
  • Samuel James
  • Percival John
  • Robert Joseph - (No.651, AIF)
and three sisters:
  • Emma Jane
  • Rebecca
  • Thyrza (Effie)
The family lived in Werribee and according to Census Records from 1909, 1914 and 1919, all the boys appear to have been chaffcutters. [A chaffcutter is a mechanical device that cuts grain/feed].  George was in the local rifle club – Werribee Rifle Club and had been a member for three years according to enlistment records.  [Through several newspaper articles, George is referred to as Dick].

War Service
George enlisted into the Army at Melbourne, Victoria on 12 August 1915 and was assigned to B Company, 29th Battalion.  He was aged 27 years and 1 month, he was 5 feet seven and a half inches tall.  George weighed eleven stone, ten pounds and had a chest measurement of thirty six to thirty nine inches.  His complexion was listed as ruddy, with light blue eyes and light brown hair.  His next of kin was listed as his mother Mrs. T. Wills of Werribee.  All of this was recorded at the time of his enlistment.

He disembarked from the Tunisian on 23 June 1916 in Marseilles, France.  George was killed in action in France on the 20 July 1916, aged 28.  He was buried at Rue Petillon Military Cemetry Fleurbaix, Bethune, Nord Pas de Calais, France and Plot I, Row K, Grave 73.

George, and his brother Robert (Bob), were thought of very highly around the local community and this can be seen through the notices in local newspapers.
"Mr Wills, of Melbourne road, has received another cablegram, stating that his son, Pte. George Wills, has been killed in action. Pte. George Wills and his brother Bob (whose death from wounds was reported last week) were splendid young men, and the sympathy of all Werribee district is extended to the parents of these brave fellows. We have also to record the death in action of Corporal George Swanton, whose parents reside in Werribee. This family also lost another son , Pte.J. Swanton who was killed at Gallipoli last year. The Werribee representatives at the front are suffering severely."
Melton Express,
19 August 1916, p.2.

"Killed In Action Private Geo.Wills The people of Werribee received a sad shock when it was found another son, George, more affectionately known as “Dick” Wills – of Mr and Mrs. J Wills, was killed in action. Our sympathy is extended to the bereaved relatives. Dick Wills was one of nature’s gentlemen – strong physically and mentally – of a sunny, genial disposition, beloved not only by his own people, but by all the young men of the district. If a vote for popularity had been taken in the district, Dick would have been easily first. May the memory of his kindly spirit and self-sacrificing nature, help other men in the path of duty."
Werribee Shire Banner, 17 August 1916, p.3.

The memorial service of George Swanton and George (Dick) Wills was also reported in the local press.
Werribee Shire Banner, 24 August 1916, p.3. 

Medals and Entitlements:
[received by his mother Mrs Thyrza Wills]
  • British War Medal - 23 September 1921
  • Star Medal - 19 November 1920
  • Victory Medal - 8 February 1923
  • Memorial Plaque - 20 July 1922
  • Memorial Scroll - 19 October 1921

Bibliography

War Records
http://recorsearch.naa.gov.au/NameSearch
http://www.awm.gov.au/people/roll-search/roll_of_honour
http://www.aif.adfa.edu.au:8080/index.html
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/299073/WILLS,%20GEORGE%20CHARLES

Family Records
http://ancestry.com.au

Trove
Harvard/Australian citation
1916 'WERRIBEE.', Melton Express (Vic. : 1915 - 1918), 19 August, p. 2, viewed 19 May, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96140979

Harvard/Australian citation
1916 'KILLED IN ACTION.', Werribee Shire Banner (Vic. : 1911 - 1952), 17 August, p. 3, viewed 19 May, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74825832


Harvard/Australian citation
1916 'IN MEMORIAM.', Werribee Shire Banner (Vic. : 1911 - 1952), 24 August, p. 3, viewed 19 May, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74825846

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