We continue with our series of histories about our local Diggers with this vignette, researched by Josh Leaney and Brandon Rae, on the life and loss of another young local soldier:
World War I, the Great War, pitted the Allied forces against the Central powers. Although referred to as a ‘world’ war, its epicentre was Europe and when the United Kingdom declared war on Germany, Australia was brought into this swirling maelstrom of destruction. The call to arms by England spread through Australia with many young men joining the AIF. One of these men was Albert Wilson from the Kenmore – Moggill area.
Albert was a young Australian man whose loss of life during WWI had a significant impact on his family and community. Born in Brisbane in 1890, Albert lived in Moggill for 25 years, growing up and maturing into a young, courageous, religious and kind man. It was at his local school in Moggill where Albert learned about Australia’s history. At the end of his schooling, Albert decided to take up farming and became a devout Methodist.
Eight years later, in 1915, the effects of the Great War were starting to be felt on home soil. Albert’s 25 years in the local area had not been a big enough adventure for him, so when the opportunity to enlist arose, he and his 2 brothers enlisted in the AIF. After joining up on 17 December 1915, Albert underwent his training at Bell’s Paddock Camp, Brisbane. His unit embarked on the HMAT A64 Demosthenes on 18 May 1916. He arrived in Britain where he continued his training until his unit embarked to France to join the front line. Arriving in France on 25 November 1916, Albert fought against the approaching German forces until he suffered a gunshot wound to the right thigh and was subsequently transferred to St John’s Hospital in England. There, he spent time recuperating before travelling back to France where he fought until his death on 11 July 1917. Albert Wilson was buried in Belgium where he lies to this very day.
During Albert’s service in the AIF he showed persistence and courage in overcoming the difficulties of injuries and his ability to adapt to new environments. In recognition of his commitment to the war effort, and his sacrifice, he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medals.
The loss of Albert’s life affected not only his family but also the surrounding community. As a farmer, he had been an important cog in the economic wheel and the sustainability of the area. Like many other young men who enlisted to fight for his country, Albert became a role model in his community and was deeply mourned by all who knew him.
So many young men from the local area were lost in the Great War, that a memorial was erected to honour their lives and sacrifices. The cenotaph has stood for many years and is today a symbol of courage, strength, patriotism, and our aspirations for peace. Every Anzac Day, the soldiers of the cenotaph are honoured and remembered. Among them is a young farmer by the name of Albert Wilson.
Lest we forget.