The Lost Diggers of Fromelles

A Joint Project by St Clare's College and St Mary's Cathedral College

Albert Williamson - Regimental number 4249 - 54th Battalion

Born in the NSW town of Canowindra , Albert Williamson was the tenth child of Joseph and Cecilia Williamson. A 22 year-old labourer he was living at Rose Villa with his mother, his father having passed away, when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Cootamundra in August 1915.

Originally assigned to the 2nd battalion he was transferred to the newly created 54th battalion when he arrived in Egypt , moving to the Suez Canal and proceeding to undertake further training. After moving with his battalion to France in June onboard the Caledonian he proceeded to billets in Northern France .

The 54th took part in the allied attacks on Fromelles as one of the attacking battalions of the 14th brigade. Albert, having reached the German lines was killed during the night, his body recovered by the Germans and buried in the mass grave at Pheasant Wood.


Private Williamson’s Service Record gives no details of his death except that he was reported missing on 21st July 1916 and a Court of Inquiry nearly twelve months later resulted in an entry officially listing him as killed in action on 20th July 1916. Importantly Private Williamson’s Service Record does contain the original German ‘death voucher’ which was completed by the German Army when Private Williamson was buried and was returned with his identification tags to the Australian Army via the German Red Cross. A photograph of the original document can be seen in the Service Record of Private Albert Williamson available on line at the National Archives of Australia.


The newspaper clipping above was printed in the Sydney Mail on 20th August 1919. In the feature Mrs Cecilia Williamson, 3 years after the Battle of Fromelles, is seeking to find more information on how her son, the 10th of her 13 children, had died. It is not known if she received any further details from any other soldiers.

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Glad you found the information on my site useful Sue-Ellen. Regards, Damian.

Yes I did.  Thanks very much.

I have all the pictures you posted as well as some of his families grave, which feature him. I also have pictures of his family home 'Rose Villa' which aren't on the site.

I have them to will add a bit later.

Damian Madden said:

I have all the pictures you posted as well as some of his families grave, which feature him. I also have pictures of his family home 'Rose Villa' which aren't on the site.

Hi, just wanting to let you know that we have been advised that Albert has been identified. We will be going to Fromelles on 19 July to attend the service and the headstone unveiling service. At last Albert will be honoured with a marked grave at Fromelles.
Hi Sue-Ellen, that is wonderful news. I am very happy for you and your family and I look forward to seeing some of the photos of what will be a very special day in your lives. All the best. Michael
Hi Sue-Ellen, I just spoke to the boys who did Albert's video profile in 2012 and they would like to do an improved version for you. We will get that done in the next couple of weeks.
Thank you very much.

Private Albert Williamson, according to my Aunty June, was my great great Uncle. My grandfather Clarence William Williamson was Alberts' brother. I, along with my family are very happy that Albert has been found.

Hi Jane

I just noticed your entry, I have a large Brown Williamson family tree. Clarence is listed as Joseph Williamson's son. Joseph was Albert s brother. Joseph s children are listed as Harold, Dorothy, Clarence, Joseph and Eileen. Joseph Williamson (Albert's brother) was the eldest son of 14! Children. My father and your grandfather were first cousins! Hope this is not too confusing!!  

Sorry Ian, you are correct. I was wrong. Albert was my great great great uncle. Thankyou

My Aunty June, who was Clarence' daughter, is putting together a photo album for me. She recently showed me a photo of my grandfather with his siblings. Once I get this album I will share with you. Who was your Dad?

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