3 September 1915 : Lt William Darnell VC

Wilbur was in South Africa when the war was declared.

William was born 6 April 1885 in Collingwood, Melbourne.

On 15 April 1907 he married.

He went to England on 12 February 1915 he joined the 25th Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers, as a temporary lieutenant. By early May, he was in Mombasa. In June, the Fusiliers captured Bukoba, the German base for attacks on the Ugandan frontier.

On 3 September 1915, near Maktau, East Africa William was wounded in the leg during an ambush.

Lt. Dartnell insisted on being left behind to allow other wounded companions to be carried away. Though he was twice asked to leave, he refused, ordered his men to leave him and began firing at the Germans around him. When his body was found, seven enemy dead were lying nearby.

William Dartnell was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.

Dartnell was buried in Voi cemetery, East Africa.


3 September 1915 killed in action.


Research by Jonathan Vernon, Digital Editor




Australian War Memorial

Merrilyn Lincoln, 'Dartnell, William Thomas (1885–1915)', Australian Dictionary of Biography,

National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1981. (Accessed 30 September 2015).