Pte
William Henry Craine

Information about birth

Year of birth:
1895
Place of birth:
Toorak, Victoria, Australia

General information

Last known residence:
Toorak, Victoria, Australia
Profession:
Mechanic
Religion:
Church of England

Army information

Country:
Australia
Force:
Australian Imperial Force
Rank:
Private
Service number:
7093
Enlistment date:
10/08/1915
Enlistment place:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Units:
 —  Australian Infantry, 8th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
04/10/1917
Place of death:
Brick Kiln & Yard, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
22

Cemetery

Ypres Reservoir Cemetery
Plot: VIII
Row: B
Grave: 24

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 ‘Place of death’

My story

William Henry Craine, a former motor mechanic, was born in July 1895 in Toorak, Victoria, Australia; and lived in 4 Washington Street, Toorak, Stonnington. He was the son of Thomas Henry and Sarah Jane Craine. On August 10, 1915 he enlisted in Melbourne and embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A20 Hororata on November 23, 1916, with the 23rd reinforcement of the 8th Battalion, part of the 2nd Australian Brigade of the 1st Australian Division.

On October 2nd, the 8th Battalion moved from their bivouacs and shelters at Château Segard to the Anzac Ridge, between Westhoek and Zonnebeke, where they relieved two companies of the 9th Battalion. On the 4th of October 1917 the 1st Division advanced from Zonnebeke. The Division was to attack at 6 a.m. with the 1st Australian Brigade, on the right, and the 2nd Brigade, on the left. Half an hour before the attack the Australian positions were heavily shelled, as the Germans were planning an attack on the same day.

At 6 a.m. the men advanced, when the Allied barrage came crashing down. The German Infantry in front of them left their positions almost at the same time. However while the Australians broke free from the German barrage on their frontline, the Allied barrage caught the German Infantrymen in no man’s land. The results were devastating. Many Germans were killed by the barrage. Those who survived were disorientated and didn’t put up much of a fight. The advance continued. Both Romulus and Remus Wood proved difficult to advance through. The terrain was marshy and the woods were heavily wired. The attack was diverted round the flanks. When the men of the 5th Prussian Guards (Grenadiers) had recovered from the initial surprise, they took up positions in various pill-boxes and fortified shell holes. But whenever the 8th Battalion encountered opposition from such strongholds, these were outflanked and then charged.

The 8th Battalion reached the first objective a.k.a. the Red Line, just east of Romulus and Remus Wood at 6.30 a.m. While consolidating the line the 8th Battalion came under fire from 77 mm guns on the Broodseinde - Beselare Road, just east of the Red Line. These were eventually captured by a platoon of the Battalion. After the Red Line had been consolidated by 7.30 a.m. the attack was taken over by the 6th and 7th Battalions. They eventually captured the second objective aka the Blue Line at Celtic Wood.

William Henry, aged 22, was killed in action on October 4, 1917. Together with some others from an engineers party, they were going to dig a strong post, and were walking in single file when a shell dropped killing William Henry instantly. Private Craine was initially buried where he fell, near Brick Kiln & Yard (28.D.28.c.50.90). His remains were exhumed and reinterred at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Plot 8, Row B, Grave 24.

Sources 6

2nd Brigade Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/2/30).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
8th Battalion Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/25/34).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), RCDIG1064166).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
Discovering Anzacs
https://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/
Sources used
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920 (National Archives of Australia, Canberra (NAA), B2455).
https://www.naa.gov.au/
Sources used
Unit embarkation nominal rolls, 1914-18 War (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM8).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used

More information 4