No.651 Robert Joseph Wills
[Listed on the St. Thomas' Presbyterian Church Honor board as Wills, R. G.]
Robert Joseph Wills was born in 1892, in Werribee, Victoria to James Wills and Thyrza Wills (nee Griffiths). He had five brothers:
- Alfred Thomas
- William Albert
- Samuel James
- Percival John
- George Charles
- Emma Jane
- Thyrza (Effie)
Robert enlisted into the Army at Melbourne, Victoria on the 12 August 1915 and was assigned to B Company/29th Battalion. He was aged 23 years and 1 month and was 5 feet and eight inches tall. Robert weighed eleven and a half stone and had a chest measurement of thirty five to thirty seven and a half inches. His complexion was listed as fresh, with blue eyes and brown hair. His next of kin is listed as his mother Mrs. J. Wills of Werribee, Victoria. All of this was recorded at the time of his enlistment.
Robert disembarked at Suez on 12 July 1915. He then embarked to join B.E.F. in Alexandria 16 June 1916. From there he disembarked at Marseilles from the Tunisian on 23 June 1916. On 21 July 1916, Robert was wounded in action and admitted to hospital in Boulogne. He was sent to Edmonton England on 22 July 1916 with wounds to his leg and shoulder. He died of those wounds on 2 August 1916 and was buried at the Heroes Corner, Tottenham Cemetery, London. Grave no. 7334 and then was re buried in Grave no. 7357.
A Bereavement Notice appeared in the local press:
"Mr and Mrs James Wills and family desire to convey to all kind friends and relatives their sincere and heartfelt thanks for kind expressions of sympathy and letters, cards and telegrams in their recent sad loss of their two dear sons and brothers, who died fighting for King and Country, especially thanking Rev. H. Laceby Cecil, Dr. Manly, Mr W J Troup and Miss A G Taylor for their kind attention. 'Thornleigh' Werribee."
Werribee Shire Banner, 24 August 1916, p.2.
There appears to be a young lady who thought highly of Robert Joseph Wills, a Miss Mary Tindsley Wise sent a letter to the Army for a list of effects on the 8 February 1917. She was living in Greaves Street, Werribee and placed a notice in the paper regarding her feelings for Robert. An In Memoriam notice appeared in The Werribee Banner, 17 August 1916, p.2.
Both Robert, and his brother George, were part of the Werribee Rifle Club. The local club fired a match against the Esssendon and Flemington Club on the 19 August 1916 at the Williamstown Range. Members apparently "wore mourning as a tribute to the memory of their late mates Private George and Robert Wills, whose deaths from wounds defending the Empire in France, had been reported during the past fortnight".
The Werribee Banner, 24 August 1916, p.3.
Medals and Entitlements
[received by his mother Mrs J. Wills]
- 1914/15 Star Medal - 15 December 1920
- British War Medal - 23 December 1921
- Victory Medal - 8 February 1923
- Memorial Plaque - 27 July 1922
- Memorial Scroll - 8 November 1921
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
Harvard/Australian citation 1916 'WERRIBEE RIFLE CLUB.', Werribee Shire Banner (Vic. : 1911 - 1952), 24 August, p. 3, viewed 19 May, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74825847 Harvard/Australian citation 1916 'Advertising.', Werribee Shire Banner (Vic. : 1911 - 1952), 24 August, p. 2, viewed 19 May, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74825856
Harvard/Australian citation 1916 'Family Notices.', Werribee Shire Banner (Vic. : 1911 - 1952), 17 August, p. 2, viewed 19 May, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74825826