William Thomas EXTON #3162
By Marg Powel & Des Crump | 21 August 2017
Indigenous Australian, William Exton, 41st & 42nd Infantry Battalions
William Thomas Exton was working as a labourer in Beaudesert with his wife Eva (Coolwell) and their young child when he volunteered to enlist with the first AIF in August 1916. He trained at Rife Range Camp, Enoggera and embarked with the 7th Reinforcements for the 42nd Infantry Battalion on board the troopship HMAT Wiltshire in February 1917.
Exton joined his Battalion in France in July 1917 when the 42nd was engaged in the Battles of Messines, and later that year participated in operations at Warneton, Broodseinde and Passchendaele.
Throughout his service, Exton was found to be AWOL several times - in May 1918, September 1918 and in March 1919. On the final occasion, he did not return from leave in London and there is little information on whether he actually returned to Australia.
Exton was discharged from the AIF in 1920 as an illegal absentee.
- Service record: EXTON, William Thomas
- Embarkation roll: 7th Reinf. 42nd Infantry Battalion
- 'Country telegrams' The Brisbane Courier, 13 January 1914 p8
- Many served: AIF Aborigines', Reveille, 30 November 1931, p.22
- Image: The Queenslander Pictorial, 5 May 1917
- One of the soldiers featured in SLQ’s HistoryPin Collection
- Queensland’s Indigenous Servicemen Digital Story and Oral History
The information in this blog post has been researched by State Library staff and volunteers, it is based on available information at this time. If you have more information that you would like to share or further research uncovers new findings, this post will be updated.
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