CWG: Trooper William Dawbin

Trooper William Dawbin

William Joseph Dawbin was born on 23rd April 1888, in Yeovil Somerset. He was the oldest of three children to William and Julianna Dawbin, a farming family.

In 1897, when William Jr was 9 years old, the family emigrated to New Zealand, settling in the town of Feilding, 100miles (150km) north of Wellington.

William enlisted in 1905, joining the Wellington Mounted Rifles for a five-year term of service, and being promoted to the rank of Corporal. He re-enlisted on 14th August 1914, and the troop departed New Zealand for Europe a month later.

Trooper Dawbin arrived in Alexandria, Egypt on 3rd December, from where they travelled to Cairo for training. Initially planning on becoming involved in the defence of the Suez Canal, on 14th April 1915, William and his battalion landed in Gallipoli, to support the invasion there.

History knows that the fighting in this battle was some of the fiercest of the Great War. History also tells us that this campaign resulted in huge losses for the Anzac troops, including the Wellington Mounted Rifles. Sadly, Trooper Dawbin was not to escape injury.

On 27th May 1915, he received a gunshot wound to the back, fracturing his spine. He was evacuated by hospital ship back to Egypt, and, suffering from paralysis, was shipped back to England ten days later.

Trooper Dawbin was admitted to the Netley Hospital in Southampton, but his wounds appeared too severe; he died there on 22nd August 1915. He was 27 years old.

William Joseph Dawbin lies at peace in the quiet churchyard of St Andrew’s, in the village of Compton Dundon, Somerset, not far from extended family in Butleigh.


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