9/09/1914- Completed Medical Examination Blackboy Hill WA & Allotted to 11th Battalion “A” Company Transport Section as Private
6/10/1914-Admitted Field Hospital Blackboy Hill Camp
9/10/1914-Admitted Perth Public Hospital ( Pneumonia-Dangerously Ill )
12/10/1914-Died of Illness ( Court of Enquiry 13/11/1914 )


” Private William Thomas HOLYWELL took ill whilst undertaking  initial training at Blackboy Hill Camp soon after his enlistment. Due to his non-embarkation from Australia, he is not listed on the Nominal Roll for the 11th Battalion. Due to the nature of his death, the Army conducted an official enquiry. The Court of Enquiry directed their attention to the Field Hospital Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel WHITE, who confirmed that HOLYWELL was admitted to the Field Hospital at Blackboy Hill Camp on 6 October, 1914, believed to be suffering from influenza/pneumonia. His condition worsened  and he was transferred to Perth Public Hospital on 9 October, 1914. He then died from the pneumonia on 12 October, 1914. The Enquiry found that the Field Hospital did not act with negligence in their treatment of Private HOLYWELL’ illness and condition “.


Service Medal Awarded

Memorial Plaque/Scroll – No. 596154


Burial Details

Pioneer Cemetery, Bunbury WA – ( Family Vault )


Memorial Inscriptions

Australian War Memorial Canberra – Panel No. 62

Bunbury War Memorial, Western Australia.

Western Australia Garden of Remembrance, Perth War Cemetery, Smythe Road Nedlands, WA – Wall I  Row E.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION –  ( Contributed by Researcher Karen MARR ).

Pte. HOLYWELL is believed to have been the first WA soldier to die during the Great War 1914 – 1918.

The Southern Times Newspaper of Tuesday, 13 October, 1914 advised that Holywell’s remains were to be interred in the Family Vault at the  Bunbury Pioneer Cemetery.

The Kalgoorlie Miner Newspaper of Saturday 17 October, 1914 stated that Holywell’s Funeral in Bunbury on 16 October was one of the largest gatherings seen for some considerable time. The cortege was preceded  by a Firing Squad of Light Horsemen and Infantry.  The presiding Minister stated ” Private HOLYWELL had given his life for his Country as surely as if he had died on the Battlefield. Though he had never left his native shore, he had been patriotic and willing “.

The Western Mail Newspaper, Perth of Friday 23 October, 1914 advised that pall-bearers included the Mayor of Bunbury, the Town Clerk and other dignitaries. The Chief Mourners were the deceased’s Mother, Sister and Brother.

A Family Member, said, when interviewed – ” He was very bright and used to sing very nicely- he was very musical .”
” He was young and would never have made a soldier since he was too tender hearted.  He was a very kind person. We were very deeply attached to him “.