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Honouring Australian World War One Personnel







Name - William Charles Cowle

Rank - Sergeant

Official Number - 1302

Enlistment Date - November 25th, 1914

Regiment - 3rd Battalion


AWWOD descendant - Greg Cowle




Service Detail - William Charles Cowle was born in Sydney in 1890. Prior to WW1 William joined the NSW Scottish Rifles in 1909, aged 19. He was allocated to 2nd Reinforcements of the 3rd Battalion AIF during WW1 and sailed from Sydney on the “Seang Bee” in February 1915 to Egypt and was then “taken on strength” at Gallipoli on 7/5/15.

He endured the huge Turkish attack of 18/5/15 which cost the Turks 10,000 men that night. A truce was called so that both sides could retrieve and bury the dead due to the stench. He continued to serve until August when the 3rd Battalion led the charge on Lone Pine where he was shot in the left elbow after running over the front line trenches to the next trench line. He was evacuated to Cairo hospital and returned to Australia in September 1915. He was discharged as “medically unfit” in January 1916. William took up a soldier’s settlement in Peak Hill in NSW, but after a fire and years of struggle, he moved with his family back to Sydney.

He then joined the 30th Battalion Scottish Regiment in 1935, with his son James. They joined as brothers: William put his age down by five years, and Uncle James put his age up by five years. When WW2 started his enlisted again and joined the 2nd AIF in 1940 serving at Eastern Command in Recruiting as he was not fit for active service due to his injuries sustained during WW1. He died in 1943 while still serving and is buried in the Military section of Rookwood Cemetary.



Members thoughts / recollections - I never met my grandfather or his two brothers as he died before I was born, and his brothers moved away from Sydney. They were all plasterers and worked for their father at his plaster factory in their hometown of Rockdale, where they produced detailed ceilings and cornices common to the houses of the era. They also worked on the State Theatre interior, producing the intricate detailed work we still see today.