William Jacob Justin

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Paddington, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

General information

Farrier - Shoeing Smith

Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Kiama, New South Wales, Australia
 —  Australian Infantry, 19th Bn. (New South Wales)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Anzac, Belgium
Cause of death:
Died of wounds (D.O.W.)


Hooge Crater Cemetery
Plot: XV
Row: D
Grave: 17

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Private William Jacob Justin served in the Australian Infantry 19th Battalion (New South Wales), part of the 5th Australian Brigade, of the 2nd Australian Division.
The 2nd Australian Division participated in the Battle of Poelcapelle on the 9th of October 1917. The Division’s task was to cover the right flank of the 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division. The Division attacked from the Zonnebeke ridge with two Brigades, the 5th Australian Brigade and the 6th Australian Brigade. The 5th Brigade would carry the attack, while the 6th brigade would secure their right flank. The 5th Brigade attacked with the 20th Battalion; the 17th Battalion was in support and the 19th Battalion was in reserve.
The men moved forward behind a creeping barrage at 5.20 a.m. They were soon fired upon by a German machine gun position on the other side of the Ypres-Roulers railway. The 20th and 17th Battalion got intermixed during the advance and pushed forward to the first objective, capturing a German strongpoint at Defy Crossing. The attacking parties stopped in front of the Keiberg rise, where they waited till the barrage had spent its fury on the pill-boxes on the ridge.
The attack was continued, and the troops of the two Battalions managed to mop up Decoy Wood and the German strongpoint at Rhine. German wires and obstacles were cleared along the Ypres-Roulers railway and the attacking parties managed to reach their final objective. However the going had been hard and the attacking Battalions had suffered heavy casualties during the advance. The battered parties, which reached the final objective, were in no state to defend the line against a German counterattack. Therefore the Battalions had no other choice, then to retreat to the first objective, which they consolidated.
The 19th Battalion was serving as a reserve and support Battalion during the attack. The Battalion moved to the support line, when the 17th Battalion advanced to join the attack. A company took up positions from D.18.a.9.9. to D.18.a.20.95. at 10.45 a.m. While C and D Companies had to reinforce the right flank of the 17th Battalion on the blue line, the first objective. B Company was ordered to help dig a communication trench, and remained in the support area.
At 12.20 p.m. C and D Companies got in touch with the right flank of the 17th Battalion. One party helped clearing Dairy Wood of German defenders. They captured a German machine gun during the operation. The party was reinforced to make good for the casualties sustained at Dairy Wood, and pushed on to Daisy Wood. The advance was covered by rifle- and Lewis gun fire from the remainder of C and D Company. Daisy Wood was captured and 15 Germans were taken prisoner.
A series of outposts were established on the far side of the Wood. A and D Companies were relieved during the night by men of the 45th and 49th Australian battalions. They moved back to the support area. C Company remained in the line for the remainder of the night, while B Company had not left the original support line. All companies were relieved from the frontline in the night of the 10th and 11th of October 1917.
Private William Jacob Justin did not survive the Battle of Poelcapelle. According to his Red Cross Wounded and Missing file, Private William Jacob Justin was wounded by German machine gun- or shell fire in the frontline on the Zonnebeke Ridge. It’s highly probable that Private Justin belonged to D Company. If he in fact was assigned to D Company, he would have been wounded on the right of the Blue Line, while covering the attacking parties, during the attack on Dairy and Daisy Wood. Private William Jacob Justin was evacuated, but succumbed to his wounds on the 9th of October 1917. He was initially buried at Pill Box Cemetery in Zonnebeke. The men buried at Pill Box Cemetery were exhumed after the War. Private William Jacob Justin was reburied at Hooge Crater Cemetery.

Files 1

Sources 7

"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 104-106.
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Australian War Memorial
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National Archives of Australia
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The Long, Long Trail
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War Diary A.I.F. 19th Bn.
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