POOLE, William James Sturgiss Grove
(Service number 703)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Lieutenant|
|Date||15 August 1882||Place of Birth||Timaru|
|Date||16 September 1914||Age||32 years|
|Address at Enlistment||Charlton, Victoria, Australia|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Fred POOLE (brother), 197 Dorcas Street, South Melbourne|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 11 inches. Weight 163 lbs. Chest measurement 36-40½ inches. Complexion medium. Eyes brown. Hair dark brown. Free from scrofula; phthisis; syphilis; impaired constitution; defective intelligence; defects of vision, voice or hearing; hernia; haemorrhoids, varicose veins, beyond a limited extent; marked varicocele with unusually pendent testicle; inveterate cutaneous disease; chronic ulcers; traces of corporal punishment, or evidence of having been marked with the letters D. or B.C.; contracted or deformed chest; abnormal curbature of spine; or any other disease or physical defect calculated to unfit him for the duties of a soldier. Can see the required distance with either eye. Heart & lungs healthy. Free use of joints & limbs. Not subject to fits of any description. Vaccinated (left arm).|
|Served with||Australian Imperial Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||Australian Imperial Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Infantry, 7th Battalion|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Australian Infantry, A.I.F., 7th Bn.|
|Campaigns||Balkans (Gallipoli); Western European|
|Service Medals||1914-1915 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal|
|Military Awards||Recommended for Military Cross but no award made. Pozieres France from 18th to 21st August 1916 2nd Lieut William James Sturgiss Grove Poole is commended for coolness and bravery under fire. He had charge of a platoon holding strong point on Bapaume road, which enemy consistently shelled and razed to the ground several times daily. Lieut. Poole by withdrawing his men slightly to the flanks and into crater holes in vicinity when the shelling became intense, rendered the occupation of this post by the enemy impossible and also prevented heavy casualties to his small garrison. Though wounded in the head on the 19th inst., he has continued to do duty. (7th Batt. A.I.F.)|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
29 April 1915 - Received a gunshot wound to the right arm at the Dardanelles. Admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Heliopoli; from there to the Australian & New Zealand Convalescent Home. 10 August 1915 - Admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Heliopolis, suffering with influenza. 27 June 1916 - Went to hospital in France, sick. 19 August 1916 - Wounded in the head. September 1916 - Admitted to St Johns Ambulance with pyrexia & subsequently admitted to hospital with influenza. Sent to England by Hospital Ship “St David”, suffering with malaria, & admitted to hospital at Digswell Place, Welwyn. Medical Board convened at the No. 2 Eastern General Hospital in September 1916 - Poole considered in good health; infection had been caused by military service. November 1916 - Admitted to the New Zealand Stationary Hospital with cystitis (gonorrhoea). December admitted to the VDG at Havre. 26 January 1917 - Admitted to hospital, sick with pyrexia, then severe influenza. This resulted in transfer to England per the “Princess Elizabeth” and admission to the Royal Herbert Hospital, with bronchitis. There a Medical Board was convened on 19 February 1917. W. J. Poole was assessed as not fit for “General Service” for one month, nor fit for service at home. He was below weight and tired easily. The infection was caused by active service conditions.
|Date||9 August 1918||Age||35 years 11 months|
|Place of Death||France (Somme)|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Notices||West Australian (Perth, WA), 21 August 1918; Western Mail (Perth, WA), 23 August 1918l; Age (Melbourne, VIC), 31 August 1918; Argus (Melbourne, VIC), 31 August 1918|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, Somme, France; Melbourne Cemetery - memorial on parents' headstone|
|Memorial Reference||III. D. 11. Section L|
|New Zealand Memorials||Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour; St John's Church, Digswell, Welwyn, Herefordshire, England memorial tablet|
William James Sturgiss Grove Poole, known as Will or Billy, was born on 15 August 1882 at Timaru, the youngest son of Thomas and Catherine (Kate, née Grove), who had married on 10 June 1874 at St John’s Church, Christchurch. The name appears also as Pool and Pole. The first three of the family (a daughter and two sons) were born in Christchurch, where Thomas may have been a baker. On 1 September 1884, the oldest son, Charles, was admitted to Normal School, Dunedin, from Timaru, and in 1885, Frederick, the second son, was admitted to the same school. In December 1887, both Charles and Fred left for Melbourne. It seems to be about the time the family moved to Dunedin that the spelling Pole was adopted. It is not apparent whether it was a reversion to an earlier spelling or for some other reason. So the family moved to Victoria, Australia. It may be that Thomas was in financial strife. Thomas Poole (Pole) died in 1899 and Mrs Kate Poole (Pole) in 1906. They were buried in the Melbourne Cemetery, their eldest son Charles with them in 1911. The headstone is inscribed also with a memorial to William – “In loving memory of . . . . . also their youngest son Lt. William POLE 7th Battalion, A.I.F., 1914, killed in action France 10 Aug 1918, age 36 yrs.”
On 16 September 1914 at Broadmeadows, Victoria, William James Poole attested for service with the Australian Imperial Force. Thirty-two years old, single and Anglican, he was living at Charlton and working as a steward, his recorded occupation on the 1912 and 1917 electoral rolls. His parents being deceased, he nominated his brother Fred Poole, of Melbourne, as his next-of-kin. Will was a well built man, standing at 5 feet 11 inches, weighing 163 pounds, and with a chest measurement of 36-40½ inches. His complexion was medium, his eyes brown and his hair dark brown. He was free of any diseases and deformities. He could see the required distance with either eye. His heart and lungs were healthy. He had the free use of his joints and limbs. He declared that he was not subject to fits of any description.
William James Poole left with the first contingent in or about October 1914, as testified in the Supreme Court of Victoria on 27 November 1919. On 5 April 1915 he embarked at Alexandria for Gallipoli. Before long – 29 April 1915, he received a gunshot wound to the right arm at the Dardanelles. He was admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Heliopolis and from there to the Australian and New Zealand Convalescent Home. He again embarked at Alexandria, on 8 June with the 5th Reinforcements and rejoined his battalion at Gallipoli. He arrived at Alexandria per the “Gloucester Castle” and was admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Heliopolis on 10 August 1915, suffering with influenza. Again he proceeded overseas to the Front from the Australian Overseas Base at Mustapha in October, and as of December 1915 was with his regiment. Throughout 1915 Alice Jackson, William’s sister, sought information on the whereabouts and condition of her brother, as did his brother Fred to a lesser extent. On 27 June 1916 he went to hospital in France, sick, rejoining his battalion nine days later. He was wounded in the head on 19 August 1916. In September he was admitted to St Johns Ambulance with pyrexia and subsequently admitted to hospital with influenza. He was soon sent to England by Hospital Ship “St David”, suffering with malaria, and admitted to hospital at Digswell Place, Welwyn. A Medical Board was convened at the No. 2 Eastern General Hospital in September 1916, when Poole was considered in good health. The infection had been caused by military service. By November, after a period of furlough, he was able to proceed overseas again, only to be admitted to the New Zealand Stationary Hospital with cystitis (gonorrhoea). And in December he was admitted to the VDG at Havre. By year’s end he had rejoined his unit, but not for long, as he was again admitted to hospital on 26 January 1917, sick with pyrexia, then severe influenza. This resulted in transfer to England per the “Princess Elizabeth” and admission to the Royal Herbert Hospital, with bronchitis. There a Medical Board was convened on 19 February 1917. W. J. Poole was assessed as not fit for “General Service” for one month, nor fit for service at home. He was below weight and tired easily. The infection was caused by active service conditions. Mr F. Poole was advised of W. J. Poole’s address while he was hospitalised and to endorse letters with “Sick” in red ink to ensure speedy delivery. In April Will was placed on the AIF Supernumerary List. Will wrote home to family from England in 1917 after he had visited relatives in Sileby and Leicester, Sileby being his father’s birth place. At Tidworth, in February-March 1918 he attended the 43rd Army ABT course and qualified “good”. Come June 1918 and William Poole again proceeded overseas to France and rejoined his unit in the Field.
Posted initially as private, William rose through the ranks. He was promoted to Lance Corporal before the end of 1914, promoted to Corporal in early July 1915 on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and appointed Lance Sergeant on 25 July 1915, promoted to Sergeant on 6 February 1916, and to 2nd Lieutenant later in the year. On 8 July 1918, while in the Field in France, he was promoted to Lieutenant.
Lieutenant William J. S. G. Poole, of the 7th Battalion, was killed in action on 9 August 1918 in France, after quite a torrid time and fluctuating fortunes. He was killed by machine gun fire while leading his platoon into action, and was buried at Heath Military Cemetery, Harbonnières, Somme, France. Heath Cemetery is operated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for British Empire soldiers of the Somme campaign during World War I. Harbonnières, located in the Somme, was captured by French troops in the summer of 1916, retaken by the Germans on 27 April 1918, and regained by the Australian corps on 8 August 1918, obviously at a cost. Mrs Alice Jackson, of Leederville, Western Australia, the only sister of “my dear brother Lieut. Will. Poole”, had written to Base Records on 30 September 1918 seeking further details but such were not then to hand. In July 1919 she again wrote, wanting to know amongst other things if anyone had drawn an allotment on his account. She received a further reply which gave some particulars and advised that the following articles from his kit had been transmitted to his next-of-kin (brother Frederick) – one brown valise, one parcel, one envelope containing 1 cheque book on the Bank of Victoria (London) and one white kit bag (all items sealed). No advice had been received regarding a Will, nor had his pay-book been received to date. One Diary was extracted from the Kit of Lieutenant W. J. S. G. Poole, 7th Battalion, A.I.F., and sent to Miss M. Black, of Windsor, Victoria, as requested. Alice added “perhaps [he] has a little white cross for nearly four years of duty to King and Country.”
Mr F. Poole had received inventories of the effects of his brother – One Parcel containing – Photos, Notebook, Disc, Diary, Postage Stamps, Wrist Watch (Damaged) & Strap, Book Case; One Brown Valise containing – 1 “Sam Browne Belt, 4 Shirts, 5 Collars, 7 Handerchiefs, 2 Prs Underpants, 2 Singlets, 1 Towel, 3 Ties, 1 Muffler, 2 Cap Comforters, 2 Prs Socks, 1 Pr Gloves, 1 Sponge, 3 Boot brushes, 1 Pr S. D. Slacks, 1 Pr Breeches, 1 Tunic (Officers Pattern), 1 Sleeping Bag, 1 Pr Boots, 1 Dictionary, 2 Note books, Playing Cards, Extracted from Kit Bag – Socks, Handerchiefs, 1 Balaclava Cap, 2 Singlets, 1 Scarf, 1 Pr Mittens, 1 Pr Braces, 1 Brush, 2 Books, Extracted from package – 1 Scarf, 2 Prs Gloves, 1 Pr Braces, 1 Pr Socks, 1 Pr Mittens, 1 Shirt, 1 Knife, 3 Books (Note), 1 Whistle; Cheque Book, containing unused cheques; One White Kit Bag containing – 1 Pr Mittens, socks, 1 Set Boxing Gloves, 1 Automatic Pistol (Webley& Scott) No. 109706 in Holster (unloaded and not Government property), 1 Safety Razor, 1 Holdall, 1 Metal Mirror, 2 Razor Strops, 1 Cap Comforter, 1 Handerchief, 2 Leather Purses, 1 Card Case (Leather), 1 Pipe, 2 Metal Stars, Chevrons, 1 Pr Pince-Nez in Case, 1 Key, 1 Glove (only), Books, Photos, 2 Leather Wallets, 1 Razor.
Probate of the Will of Lieutenant W. J. S. G. Poole was, in fact, given in the Melbourne Supreme Court in February 1920, the executor being Benjamin Green, a Charlton solicitor. William had executed this Will, in duplicate, on 30 May 1918 while serving abroad, in the presence of two Australian solicitors who were also serving abroad. At that time William had posted a separate copy of his Will to Miss Minnie Black of “Closeburn”, Dandenong Road, Windsor, which copy did not reach her, “doubtless lost through enemy action, as she was informed by the Postal Officials.” Minnie had been informed that mails sent from England between 20 and 30 May 1918, were aboard a steamer which was torpedoed and had been lost. His brother F. Poole stated that he did not get the Will and knew nothing about it. Nor did his sister A. Jackson have any knowledge of the Will. Miss Minnie Black swore an affidavit on 27 November 1919 in the Supreme Court of Victoria, that she had received the Will from William James Sturgiss Grove sometime in August 1918. The said Will was enclosed in an envelope, the envelope being enclosed in another envelope containing photographs, these two envelopes being exhibited in Court. There was also a handwritten letter from William – “In the Field, 26/6/18. Dear Min, I am enclosing the copy of my Will the original of which I have already forwarded to you. If you received it alright you can just keep this copy for me but if it did not reach you I want you to send this copy on to Mr. Green. (B. Green Esq. Charlton is sufficient address) . . . . W. G. Poole [signature]”. William Poole left both real estate and personal estate in the State of Victoria. “I bequeath to Minnie Black of “Closeburn”, Dandenong Rd, Windsor, Vic, all monies received and collected by her from C’wealth Govt, I devise & bequeath the residue of my real & personal estate to my Trustee upon trust to realize & convert the same, & to pay in the following proportions: - To Minnie Black thirty per cent of such proceeds, to my sister Mrs Alice Jackson, of Leederville, W.A. thirty percent, to my brother Frederick John Joseph Poole, of Sth Melb, Vic. twenty per cent, & to Thelma Joyce Frahm, of Charlton, Vic twenty percent.” William Poole held an interest in considerable land, with improvements, in Charlton, which was sold following his death. He also had money in the bank and deferred pay owing by the Commonwealth Military Authorities, as well as amounts owing in mortgages, liabilities and a promissory note.
W. J. S. G. Poole was recommended for the Military Cross, placed sixth on the list by order of merit, but no award was made. “Pozieres France from 18th to 21st August 1916 2nd Lieut William James Sturgiss Grove Poole is commended for coolness and bravery under fire. He had charge of a platoon holding strong point on Bapaume road, which enemy consistently shelled and razed to the ground several times daily. Lieut. Poole by withdrawing his men slightly to the flanks and into crater holes in vicinity when the shelling became intense, rendered the occupation of this post by the enemy impossible and also prevented heavy casualties to his small garrison. Though wounded in the head on the 19th inst., he has continued to do duty.” (7th Batt. A.I.F.)
F. Poole wrote from South Melbourne on 31 July 1920 to the Officer in Charge Base Records, in reply to a communication seeking such information, advising that he was the (only) brother of the late Lieutenant W. J. Poole, and that his father and mother were both deceased. William James Sturgiss Grove Poole was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal, which were sent to his brother, along with the Memorial Plaque and the pamphlet “Where the Australians Rest.” On 6 July 1921 Frederick Poole signed the receipt for the Memorial Scroll and the King’s Message in connexion with the late Lieutenant W. J. Poole. In 1919 he had on several occasions received a single package of the effects of his brother.
Lieutenant William Pole, 7th Battalion, killed in action France 10 [sic] Aug 1918 age 36 yrs, is remembered on his parents’ headstone in the Melbourne Cemetery. His name is also recorded on the Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour. The Charlton, Victoria, Australia, War Memorial was unveiled in June 1923 by the Acting Premier. The inscription reads “In Memory of the Soldiers of Charlton and District Who Gave Their Lives for the Empire During the Great War 1914-1919.” Many Australian officers who were injured in France were brought to Digswell House, Welwyn, Herefordshire, England, which was used as a hospital. About 73 of them were killed after recovering and returning to the Front, among them Lieut. W. J. S. G. Poole, 7th Bn. Their names are inscribed on a marble memorial tablet inside St John’ Church, Digswell. The tablet was unveiled on 13 October 1921. His sister, Alice Jackson of Western Australia inserted a notice in the West Australian of 21 August 1918 – “A brave soldier, a loving brother, a true friend. It is sweet and good to die for one’s country. Our loss, but a nation’s gain.” A notice for Billy (late of Charlton) in the Age (Victoria) named both his brother Fred and his sister Alice – “Officially reported killed in action in France on 10th August, after nearly four years’ service. . . . . His duty done.” A second notice read “A tribute to the memory of my friend” was inserted by M. Black. Minnie Black was clearly a very close friend – a girl friend? a fiancée? The same notices appeared in other Western Australia and Victoria newspapers.
Attestation Paper for Australian Imperial Force (National Archives of Australia) [16 November 2013]; CWGC [27 August 2013]; NZ BDM indexes (Department of Internal Affairs ; Roll of Honour – Australian War Memorial (www.awm.gov.au) [06 September 2013]; Honours and Awards (Recommendations) – Australian War Memorial (www.awm.gov.au); Probate record (Public Record Office Victoria, per ancestry.com.au) [18 November 2019]; related School Admission records [18 & 19 November 2019]; Victoria, Australia Cemetery Records & Headstone Transcriptions (The Genealogical Society of Victoria Inc, per ancestry.com.au) [19 November 2019]; Lyttelton Times, 12 June 1874, Evening Star, 3 & 7 June 1887 (Papers Past) [18 & 19 November 2019]; West Australian (Perth, WA), 21 August 1918, Western Mail (Perth, WA), 23 August 1918, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic), 31 August 1918, The Age (VIC), 31 August 1918 (Trove) [19 November 2019]; Australian Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [19 November 2019]; Digswell Memorial Tablet (Our Welwyn Garden City - google search) [21 November 2019]; Heath Cemetery, Harbonnières (Wikipedia) [22 November 2019]
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
Tell us more
Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!