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
William was born in Omeo in 1895 the second son of Frederick and his wife Olympia. His father was a grocer, draper and general merchant and was well regarded in the district. He moved his wife and two sons, Hubert and William to Glen Wills about 1898. Siblings Theodore, Violet, Francis, Frederick and twins Mary and Jonathan (who didn’t survive) were born here before they moved to Clifton Park, Bairnsdale in 1908. James and Jean were both born in Bairnsdale and the family became involved in local church activities. It was here that William, noted for being of a studious nature, was a Sergeant in the Senior Cadets and a member of the Citizen Military Forces. In early 1914 the family moved to Heyfield where they ran a grocery and hardware store and William worked in the shop. In 1915 the second last of the children, Howard, was born the same year as his uncle Hubert married Ruby Smith before he enlisted on 19 August 1915. After first being rejected with dental problems William was accepted on 1 October 1915 when he was 20 years old. He embarked from Melbourne on the Wiltshire in March the following. In April he transferred from the 59 th  Battalion to the 7 th  Battalion and trained with the British Expeditionary Forces in Alexandria before arriving in Marseilles on 29 June 1916. It was just twenty days later that we lost his life and like many others was presumed buried in no man’s land as a result of the first 24 hours of the battle of Fromelles on 19 July 1916. In February 1922 his identity disc was retrieved from the field of battle and was returned to the family and later in June 1922 they were advised he had been reburied at Aubers Ridge British Cemetery. He is remembered on the Omeo State School honour roll. William never knew his brother David who was born a year after he left Australia. His brother Hubert was wounded and returned home with shell shock in 1916 and was ultimately discharged in 1917. His first son, born the same year carried the name of his brother who had lost his life – Cyril William.
….. his nephew carries his name
4782 Private William Reid Fitton – Omeo / Bairnsdale Killed in Action 19 July 1916