PRIVATE WILLIAM THORN CARR
21ST OCTOBER 1917 AGE 24
BURIED: BELGIAN BATTERY CORNER CEMETERY, WEST-VLAANDEREN, BELGIUM
William Carr's father describes the scene so vividly that it is really quite affecting. It's a scene that must have been repeated in households all over the world - the saying good-bye to your son who was going off to fight. And Carr was an Australian, which meant that he would never be able to come home on leave
William Carr enlisted on 25 January 1916 and sailed for Europe from Brisbane on 16 August the same year. He served with the 52nd Battalion Australian Infantry made up of veterans from Gallipoli and new recruits, like Carr, fresh from Australia. The autumn and winter of 1916 were spent on the Somme and then early in 1917 the battalion transferred to the Ypres sector. Involved in the the battles of Messines Ridge, Polygon Wood and 1st Passchendaele, Carr was killed as the battalion transferred out of the line to a rest area at Ottawa Camp. The 15th to the 19th October had been spent in the trenches at Broodseinde Ridge, on 20th the Battalion was resting and 'cleaning up' in Ypres and then on 21st it moved out of the town:
52nd Battalion Australian Infantry War Diary 21st October:
"Moved from Infantry Barracks, Ypres to Ouderdum Area - route march - vide Operation Order in appendix. (Casualties - 6 other ranks killed, 32 other ranks wounded, 1 other rank previously reported Missing - reported Killed in addition to those shown on 19th inst.) Lieut A.M. Playfair wounded. Casualties occurred through shell fire as Battalion was leaving Ypres (1 p.m.) 7 other ranks killed, 3 other ranks wounded, on 21st October."
The soldiers might have been out of the direct front line but Ypres was not far from it and the German guns pounded the town incessantly. They knew where the roads were and had their range, which made the whole environs very dangerous.