Elijah Hughes with an image of William Angus Wyllie William Angus Wyllie wearing Second World War uniform

Photos: Elijah Hughes, of Kingston High School, researched William Angus Wyllie, known as Angus, for the Frank MacDonald Memorial Study Tour. Angus Wyllie served in both World War One and Two and is pictured right in his Second World War uniform.

William Angus Wyllie

William Angus Wyllie, known as Angus, never talked about his time in the trenches. Despite facing the horrors of war, losing two children and his farm during the Depression, Angus always had a way of being optimistic about his situation.

William Angus Wyllie, from Boolite, a small wheat rural area in Victoria, enlisted for World War One on the 21July 1915 at the age of 30.

When war was declared in Australia on the 4 August 1914, Angus was one of the few people enlisting in his district.

Angus embarked upon the HMAT A23 “Suffolk” for Egypt as the 5th Battalion 16th Reinforcement (which became part of the 58th Battalion) from Melbourne.

In Egypt they trained in the shadow of the pyramids, in the desert. From Egypt they went to England for further training and then onto France.  In France it was wet, muddy and cold. Angus often had to spend time in pillboxes and the conditions were horrendous.  Angus was shelled and gassed numerous times but survived.

It was not too long into his time in France when Angus was shot. In the field near Flers Angus suffered a gun shot wound to the top of the shoulder. It left a large and gaping exit wound on the right side of his chest. He was immediately sent to a casualty clearing station, as it was unequipped for such serious injuries and Angus was transferred to the Rouen Hospital on the 7February 1917. He was later transferred back to England.

Angus returned to France and was wounded for a second time from a gunshot wound to the left knee on the 29 September 1918. This combined with several instances of shrapnel injuries Angus suffered removed him from the field for a long time.

After his second period of recuperation Angus returned to duty for approximately two-three months until he was discharged from the AIF on the 26July 1919. He stayed abroad for a further few months as he completed a motor mechanics course and driving certificate. He completed these courses in 1919 on leave “with pay and subsidence”. While prolonging his time abroad these courses allowed him to be one of the only qualified motor mechanics in his area when he returned to Australia.

On 27 September 1921, Angus married Dorothy Ada Cosstick. The couple had four children.

On the 14March 1941 Angus Wyllie enlisted for WW2 only 22 years after WWI. Angus was retrained at Ascot Vale in Victoria. He served a total of 784 days in the Garrison reserve. Angus was posted at the coastal towns of Queenscliff, Portsea and Bandiana. Angus was eventually discharged due to deafness and arthritis in both knees.

William Angus Wyllie passed away in his home in Heywood on the 7 July 1965, aged 80 years.