William George Oborne

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Colac, Victoria, Australia

General information


Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
 —  Australian Infantry, 22nd Bn. (Victoria)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
De Knoet Farm, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 3

Points of interest 3

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

My story

Private William George Oborne served as a Lewis Gunner with the Australian Infantry 22nd Battalion, part of the 6th Australian Brigade, of the 2nd Australian Division.

On the 4th of October 1917 the 2nd Australian Division participated in the Battle of Broodseinde, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. The 22nd Battalion was part of the 6th Brigade, which attacked on the right of the divisional front. The 22nd Battalion would take the first objective, the red line. Once they had taken this line, the 24th would pass through the 22nd on the right while the 21st would do the same on the left. The three battalions had to storm a front over 3oo yards right of the Zonnebeke lake. Once they had passed the lake the units on the left had to change direction to cover the ground allotted to them.

The Battalion assembled at the jumping-off positions in front of Tokio, but they soon moved closer to the road leading to Tokio on account of German artillery fire on and around Albania. The men made use of shell holes and an old trench systems to form a line.

At 5.35 a.m. moments before the Battalion would attack, the German artillery, including minenwerfers, started shelling the jump-off line, causing heavy casualties. There were fears that the Germans expected an attack, but this wasn’t the case. The Germans were planning an attack of themselves in the hope of recapturing Zonnebeke.

At 6 a.m. when the German troops were already advancing through the field the allied barrage came crashing down. The creeping barrage was closely followed by the Australians. The German infantry had borne the full strength of the barrage. They had been utterly surprised by the heavy shell fire and the attack was quickly dispersed. Shaken and disillusioned the Germans were no match for the advancing Australians. The ones that weren’t killed were taken prisoner.

Chasing the retreating Germans, the Battalions skirted Zonnebeke Lake. Docile Trench and De Knoet Farm fell without much opposition and the 22nd Battalion reached their objective by 6.50 a.m. On the right flank of the 24th Battalion the troops met resistance in Romulus Wood, but the Germans were eventually overpowered. At 7.30 a.m. the 21st and 24th moved up behind the protective barrage, reaching the second objective, the blue line on the Broodseinde Ridge at 8.10 a.m., where the dug in and prepared for eventual counterattacks.

Private William George Oborne was killed in action on the 4th of October 1917. According to a letter of Captain Rodda, the commanding officer of his company, Private William George Oborne was killed by German shell fire while digging a new trench on the captured position on the Red Line. He was buried by his comrades, but his grave got lost in the later duration of the war. William George Oborne is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Files 2

Sources 5

22nd Battalion Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/39/26).
Sources used
Embarkation Roll
Sources used
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920 (National Archives of Australia, Canberra (NAA), B2455).
Sources used
Gorman E, With the Twenty-Second, A history of the twenty-second battalion AIF (Uckfield, Naval and Military Press, 2009).
Sources used
McCarthy Chris. Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account (London: Unicorn Publishing Group, 2018).
Sources used

More information 4