19th December 1894 - 31st August 1918
William John Armstrong was born 19/12/1894. He had an older brother, Alexander and a younger sister Donetta. His mother died January 1900. He trained as a teacher and taught in Melbourne, then rural Victoria around Mansfield, where he became romantically attached to Irene Macklan, whose photo is prominent in his diary. He enlisted 24 October 1916, trained at Broadmeadows before sailing to England on the A20 Hororata. He further trained at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain. Unfortunately, William suffered appendicitis, delaying his transfer to his battalion, which occurred in November 1917. William's diary describes army life, which included sporting events such as Australian Rules, Athletics and Cricket. Interestingly his diary refers mainly to these, contacts with friends from Australia and cultural sites he was able to visit, with little reference to the horrors of war. Despite his reticence, he was engaged in major battles, including Hamel, Beaucourt and, in the closing days of the war, the Australian assault on the Maginot Line. In the face of all the wartime horror, his last leave was to Paris, with two mates, where he enjoyed the delights of the Folies Bergere. William's record of this trip was the last entry in his diary because, from the date of his return, his brigade was constantly in the Front Line. He was killed by German High-Explosive artillery 31 August 1918 at Mont St Quentin, a few short months before the end of the war.
Created by: Paul100199