Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 -1919
3229 Private William Alfred Fish - Swan Reach / Lakes Entrance Killed in Action 9 October 1917
William, known as Bill to his family and friends, was the eldest of eight children born to Alfred and Rachel Fish. Born in Sale in 1890, the family moved to Swan Reach area soon after and Bill went to school at both Sarsfield and Kalimna. With a thirst for learning he attended the Central Business College in Melbourne before moving to Queensland and working for the Government as a telegraph lines repairman where he was foreman of his gang. He enlisted in Melbourne on 15 March 1916, a month after his younger brother Leslie, and sailed for England on 4 July on the Berrima. Once he arrived in England the usual training took place, this time at Larkshill on Salisbury Plain. Les and Bill were both in England at the same time when it is thought they were photographed together, above, Bill on the left and Les on the right. On 12 November the 29 th  Battalion sailed to Etaples, France on the SS Onward and they marched out to their unit ten days later. Within a fortnight Bill was ill and diagnosed with mumps. Being highly infectious he was hospitalised away from the men at Camiers, France. He was admitted on 15 December and spent Christmas there before being discharged and re-joining his unit on 10 January 1917. The 29 th  Battalion was in the thick of the action and bogged down in the mud of Ypres. In April, Bill was charged with eating his emergency rations without permission and forfeited two days pay and had to reimburse the Army for the rations he ate. Bill was No.1 on the Lewis machine gun support lines at Polygon Wood and Pte L. Stokes was next to him. At about 5.00pm on 9 October when they were in position at Broodseinde Ridge a high explosive shell landed in the centre of the gun team and Bill, sustaining severe wounds, was killed instantly. He was buried the same night in a shell hole just near where he fell. When Casualty List No. 361 was printed in the papers on 1 December 1917 it confirmed what the family had been told. Pte W.A. Fish, Swan Reach was listed amongst those who had been killed. A pension of 40 shillings was granted to his mother the following month however, being of a frail nature and having been ill for some time, the loss of her son came as a grave blow from which she never recovered. With a broken heart, Rachel Fish died on 2 July 1918 not knowing the fate of her second son. William Fish was one of the fortunate in that his body was recovered after the war was over and he was re-interred at Oxford Road Cemetery in 1924 giving his siblings and father some peace of mind. His young brother Leslie returned home safely; an uncle, Walter Fish, had been killed at Gallipoli and a cousin, John Young, died of pneumonia just two days before the end of the war after being gassed at Bray. William Fish was 26 years old and is remembered on various local Honour rolls in the Swan Reach and Lakes Entrance areas.
….. held No. 1 position on the Lewis gun