Name: William John Downey


Birth Date: 1893 Where: New South Wales
Died: Where:
Place of Enlistment: Blackboy Hill, Western Australia Age: 22
Serial Number: 1924 Battalion: 28th
Rank on Enlistment: Private Rank on Discharge/Death: Private

Awards: 1914 - 15 Star, British War Medal 1914 - 1920, Victory Medal,


Photograph Downey

Service Details:



24 June

1915                      Enlisted Perth

12 October

1915                      Gallipoli

21 March

1916                      France

6/7 June

1916                      Trench Raid

25 June

1916                      Hospital

17 August

1916                      Rejoined Battalion

6 September

1916                      Belgium

4 October

1916                      Hospital

11 November

1916                      Rejoined Battalion


1917                      Warlencourt


1917                      Attack on Malt Trench


1917                      Battle of Bullecourt (Hindenburg Line)


1917                      Bapaume


1917                      Cassel

18 September

1917                      Ypres


1917                      Broodseine & Passchendale

26 October

1917                      Battle of Passchendale (Ypres)


1917                      Red Lodge

7 April

1918                      Dernacourt

20 April

1918                      Ville Sur-Ancre


1918                      Morlancourt

1 June

1918                      Hospital

9 September

1918                      Rejoined Battalion

11 November

1918                      Armistice

7 April

1919                      Disembarked Australia

3 June

1919                      Discharged





Biographical Detais:

William John Downey was born to William and Amelia Downey in 1893, in Granville, New South Wales.  He had one sister. It is not known when William moved to Western Australia but at the time of his enlistment with the 3rd Reinforcement of the 28th Battalion, he was employed as a barman, at Gordon’s Hotel.
After training in Perth and Egypt, William saw service at Gallipoli.
In the June 6/7th Trench Raid, William was part of Lieutenant Brown’s Right Bombing Party. He too was given special leave in London and like several other Raiders was treated for Gonorrhoea soon after returning to France.
Although fortunate enough to not be wounded William was hospitalised on three occasions - for Conjunctivitis, Influenza and Gonorrhoea. The latter was for 44 days.
On another three occasions he was charged with being AWL for which he received a total of 40 days Field Punishment and forfeiture of pay. Most of the FP was served in a Field Punishment compound.
At the end of the war William, because he had enlisted in 1915, was selected for early return to Australia and disembarked at Albany in April, 1919. After being discharged in June he settled in Perth. 
At some stage during his service William must have been transferred within the 28th Battalion.  All post-war correspondence referred to him as Driver William Downey.
In 1925, William spent some time at the Wooroloo Sanatorium suffering from tuberculosis which he had contracted while serving.
In 1925 William applied for a pension through the Department of Repatriation. William Downey died on Jan 21st, 1926, from TB and heart failure.  His funeral was attended by many ex-soldiers of the 28th Battalion, including Lt Colonel Collett the original Commanding Officer.
In 1930 William’s parents applied for and were subsequently awarded the Memorial Scroll and Memorial Plaque.  There is no record of William having received his three service medals.