WILLIAMS, Albert Edwin Brown
(Service number 58946)

First Rank Private Last Rank Private


Date 19 April 1886 Place of Birth Dunedin

Enlistment Information

Date 22 May 1917 Age 31 years
Address at Enlistment 8 Fea Street, Dalmore, Dunedin
Occupation Timber labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Married. One child.
Next of Kin Mrs Rose WILLIAMS (wife), care of Mrs King, Maude Street, Temuka
Religion Methodist
Medical Information Height 5 feet 6 inches. Weight 136 lbs. Chest measurement 34-37½ inches. Complexion fresh. Eyes brown. Hair black. Sight - right eye 6/6, left eye 6/9. Hearing good. Colour vision normal. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement of all joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Illnesses - trivial. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Vaccinated (left arm). Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. No fits. Fit. Class A.

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 29th Reinforcements Otago Infantry Regiment, D Company
Date 15 August 1917
Transport Ruahine
Embarked From Wellington Destination Glasgow, Scotland
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With Otago Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion 

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 25 August 1918 Age 32 years
Place of Death Bapaume, France
Cause Killed in action
Notices Temuka Leader, 14 September 1918; Otago Daily Times, 18 September 1918, Otago Witness, 18 September 1918 & 2 October 1918; Timaru Herald, 24 September 1918; Evening Star, 26 September 1918
Memorial or Cemetery L'Homme Mort British Cemetery, Ecoust-St Mein, Pas-de-Calais, France; Northern Cemetery, Dunedin - parents' headstone
Memorial Reference II. B. 14. Northern Cemetery - Block 124, Plot 1, 2
New Zealand Memorials Timaru Memorial Wall; Temuka War Memorial (2014 addition)

Biographical Notes

Albert Edwin Brown King was the second (twin) son of Henry Brown and Jane Anderson (née Wilson) Williams, of Dunedin. Albert and his twin, John Robert Brown Williams, were born on 19 April 1886 at Dunedin. In 1892 the family moved from Dunedin to Palmerston (Otago), where Albert and his siblings attended the local school. Albert married Rose Ella King on 28 April 1916 at Temuka. They had a daughter, Alberta Franklin Ann Williams, who was born on 12 July 1917 at Temuka and was just a month old when her father went away, never to be seen again.

Albert King was listed on the Reserve Rolls, residing at 8 Fea Street, Dalmore, Dunedin, which address he gave on enlisting on 22 May 1917 at Dunedin, after his name was drawn in the ballot under the Military Service Act. He had been medically examined previously and rejected as unfit. He was 31 years old, a timber labourer, Methodist, and named his wife as next-of-kin - Mrs Rose Williams, care of Mrs King, Maude Street, Temuka. Albert stood at 5 feet 6 inches, weighed 136 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 34-37½ inches, a fresh complexion, brown eyes and black hair. His right eye, hearing and colour vision were all normal, his left eye 6/9. His heart and lungs were also normal. His limbs and chest were well formed and he ahd very good movement of all joints. In good bodily and mental health, he had had only trivial illnesses, was vaccinated (left arm), and had no slight defects. Fit. Class A.

It was on 26 June 1917 that Albert Edwin Brown Williams left Dunedin with the Dunedin Infantry draft of the 31st Reinforcements, by a special train. The men were cheered by large crowds as they marched from the Kensington Drill hall to the railway station. In his address to the men Colonel Smith said that “to all appearances they were as good a detachment as any that had gone before.” He earnestly hoped that the war would be over before they got there. Sadly that was not to be. He wished them success, and God-speed, and a safe return. The Rev. W. A. Hay recited the Lord’s Prayer and the people gathered cheered the men heartily. On 1 August 1917, while down on final leave, Private A. E. King, by then of the 29th Reinforcements, was the guest at a pleasant evening in Mornington, Dunedin. A large number of his friends took the opportunity of meeting him and bidding him farewell. His employer of three years presented him with an illuminated wrist watch, and wished him God-speed and a safe return.

Private Albert Edwin Brown Williams embarked with the Otago Infantry Regiment of the 29th Reinforcements on 15 August 1917, leaving Wellington for Glasgow, Scotland on the “Ruahine”. In September 1917, the Minister of Defence was able to advise that both the first portion and the second portion of the 29th Reinforcements had arrived safely at a port of call. By early October the notification was that both portions had reached their destination safely. Disembarking at Glasgow on 2 October, A. E. B. Williams marched into Sling on the next day. On 25 December he left for France and marched into Camp at Etaples, joining his battalion in the Field on 17 January 1918. Shortly after he was detached to 2nd Brigade School and, after a week at Musketry School, was reattached to 2nd Brigade School before rejoining his Unit in the Field. Private Williams was detached to the Divisional Lewis Gun School on 30 June 1918, rejoining his Unit on 12 July.

Just a year after embarking, Private A. E. B. Williams, of the Otago Infantry, was killed in action at Bapaume, France. He died on 25 August 1918, aged 32 years, and was buried in L'Homme Mort British Cemetery, Ecoust-St Mein, Pas-de-Calais, France, after his body had been removed from an isolated grave. In mid September 1918, the newspapers carried this sad news, Mrs A. E. B. Willliams being advised that her husband had made the supreme sacrifice. He left a wife and child – “dearly beloved husband of Rose Williams, Maude Street, Temuka, late of Dalmore, Dunedin. Dearly loved. Sadly mourned.”. His parents lost three well-known sons within eleven months. Albert was well known in Temuka where he had married and where he had two sisters, Mrs A. Cooper and Mrs A. H. King. Mr and Mrs H. B. Williams were supported by a wide circle of friends in their double bereavement – sons Albert and Frederick. The New Zealand troops played an important part in the Allies’ final push for victory, but the cost was great with a significant number of casualties in the Second Battle of Bapaume (21 August 1918 – 3 September 1918).

Albert was a prominent Dunedin Rugby footballer, playing for the Alhambra Club and representing Otago on fifteen occasions between 1910 and 1913. It is not clear whether this recognition may apply to Fred, or perhaps to both. What is certain is that all three Williams lads were popular and much respected. Albert’s youngest brother, James Andrew Brown Williams, 19th Reinforcements, was killed in action on 12 October 1917 at Passchendaele. At this time, Albert was fighting in France. And his brother, Frederick Walter Brown Williams (Freddy), 40th reinforcements, died at sea of disease (influenza) on 4 September 1918, just ten days after Albert. A brother-in-law, Frederick Ballantine Wright, the husband of Frances Williams, was also killed in action on 12 October 1917 at Passchendaele.

Albert’s sister Nellie Annie Williams had married Alfred Henry King, a brother of Rose, in 1911. Nellie King and their oldest sister, Jane Eliza Cooper, were living at Temuka, when they received word that their brother James had been killed, and again when Albert was killed. Two brothers of Alfred and Rose King served in World War I – Frank Erny King and James King (27304), who lost a leg. Henry Brown Williams died in 1920. Faithfully through the 1920s and early 1930s, usually on 25 August, sometimes in early September, Mrs Williams, her two surviving sons and her five daughters continued to remember Albert, Frederick and James with love. “As we loved them, so we miss them, In our memory ever dear; Loved, remembered, longed for always, As it dawns another year.” [1927.] Rose, too, and her daughter, remembered – “He did his duty.”



WILLIAMS. — In loving memory of Albert Edwin Brown WILLIAMS (29th Reinforcements), who was killed in action “Somewhere in France,” August 25, 1918.

This day brings back our memory fresh

Of him now called to rest,

And the ones who think of him tonight

Are the ones who loved him best.

Though the voice we loved is silent,

Though his form we cannot see,

We shall meet again in glory,

United through eternity.

—Inserted by his loving wife and child.

WILLIAMS. — In loving memory of Private Albert Edwin Brown Williams, who was killed in action on August 25, 1918, twin son of Mr and Mrs H. B. Williams, Harbour terrace, Dunedin.

One year has passed, our hearts are sore,

As time goes on we miss him more;

His loving smile, his welcome face –

There’s none can fill our dear Albert’s place.

—Inserted by his loving parents, sisters, and brothers.

[Otago Daily Times. 25 August 1919.]

His medals – British War Medal and Victory Medal – were sent to Mrs R. E. Williams, who had moved to Dunedin, and also the plaque and scroll. In June 1917, before leaving Otao, Albert signed a Will, naiming his wife as sole beneficiary and executrix. Rose married again in 1928, to Harry Gillam. Alberta married Walter Riley Scott in 1939. The three Williams brothers who were killed in action – Albert, Fred and Jim - are remembered on their parents’ headstone in the Northern Cemetery, Dunedin. A. E. B. Williams’ name is inscribed on the Timaru Memorial Wall and has been added to the Temuka War Memorial. A photograph of Private A. E. B. Williams (Dunedin), killed in action, was printed in the Otago Witness of 9 October 1918.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [19 February 2014]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ Ref. AABK 18805 W5557 0122544) [12 March 2014]; CWGC [07 March 2014]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs historical records) [19 February 2014]; Otago Daily Times, 9 May 1917, 27 June 1917, 12 September 1917, 30 November 1917, 13, 18 & 19 September 1918, 25 August 1919, 25 August 1920, 25 August 1921, 25 August 1922, 25 August 1923, 25 August 1924, 25 August 1925, 25 August 1926, 25 August 1927, 25 August 1928, 26 August 1929, 4 September 1931, 3 September 1932, Evening Star, 9 May 1917, 27 June 1917, 3 August 1917, 4 & 6 October 1917, 18 & 26 September 1918, 25 August 1919, 25 August 1924, 25 August 1927, 25 August 1928, 25 August 1930, 3 September 1932, Press, 16 & 18 September 1918, Evening Post, 20 September 1918, Timaru Herald, 10 September 1917, 27 November 1917, 13 & 24 September 1918, Otago Witness, 5 December 1917, 18 & 25 September 1918, 2 & 9 October 1918, 29 August 1919, 31 August 1920, Temuka Leader, 14 September 1918 [x 2], Sun, 18 & 19 September 1918, Poverty Bay Herald, 26 September 1918 (Papers Past) [07 & 19 March 2014; 05 & 06 May 2016; 21, 22, 23 & 24 October 2020]; School Admission records (Dunedin Branch NZSG) [21 October 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls (; Northern Cemetery, Dunedin, headstone transcription

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Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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