FROM THE NEWSPAPERS - 1942 - A Soldier from Yallourn Wins Recognition - Geoff Williams

This news report was written during World War:II and tells of a letter which was forwarded to the Chairman of the Apprenticeship Committee of Yallourn regarding Geoff Williams and his outstanding work as a tradesman and soldier.
The letter was written by Captain Bardsley of the Australian Army Field Workshops and was published in the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ on the 22nd January 1942.
The footnotes that accompany this story may assist readers in appreciating the nature of Geoff’s duties and also refer to his family who lived in Yallourn.
January 22nd 1942 MORWELL ADVERTISER Page: 8

It is with great pride and pleasure that we announce that Lance Corporal Geoff. Williams, son of Mr and Mrs Williams of Yallourn (formerly of Morwell, and brother of Ken, A.I F.) has won recognition for his prowess by inventing an instrumental device in the manufacture of modifications for W.D. vehicles.
These have proved very efficient and have been passed and accepted by the War Office as standard equipment throughout British Forces.
Capt. G. Bardsley of the No. 4 Aust. Recovery Section Aust. Army Field Workshops, in a letter to the chairman of the Apprentice Committee S.E. C. Yallourn, says "The Live Wire," recognised Geoff's fine work generally as a soldier and tradesman.
It is very pleasing to know that Geoff's apprenticeship in Yallourn has stood him in good stead and he is congratulated on his fine effort.
An extract from Capt. 'Bardsley's letter stated –
"I have to advise that this soldier has completed 12 months service with his section as a fitter and turner, during which term his work has been of the highest standard, and he has given every satisfaction. He has shown all the initiative and efficiency attributable to a first class tradesman.
In fact he has been instrumental in the manufacture of modifications for W.D. vehicles, which have proved highly efficient and have been accepted and passed by the War Office and are now standardised throughout the British Forces. The fact that L/Corpl Williams has received promotion in this section and is in line for further promotion also speaks highly of his efficiency both as a tradesman and a soldier." (Sgd.) G. (BARDSLEY (Capt.)

1. According to The World War:II Nominal Roll, Geoff Williams enlisted on the 19th June 1940 and served in the Army until his discharge on the 5th September 1954. Geoff rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and his last posting was given as the 2/121 Brigade Workshop.
2. Military records indicate that Geoff’s brother Ken (mentioned in the above newspaper report) also served in the Army during World War:II. Ken enlisted at Yallourn on the 23rd August 1940 and was discharged in December 1945.
3. A search of the available VFL records shows that it is probably the same ‘Ken Williams’ who played 12 games with Collingwood in 1940. Ken made his debut against Melbourne at the MCG in Round:5 at the MCG. During his VFL career Ken kicked 2 goals. He was 22 years of age when he played his last game for Collingwood. A photograph of ‘K. Williams’ can be found in the Yallourn Blues team (circa 1938-39).
4. Using the information, as provided on the Virtual Yallourn website, the Williams’ family (John Henry and Muriel Zenna) lived at 2 Green Street.
5. It is believed that Captain Gilbert Bardsley, who wrote the above letter, was born in Waterloo (NSW) in 1902 and served in the Army 1939 until October1945. At the date of his discharge, he was Captain at the 2nd Australian Field Workshops.
6. The soldiers of the Recovery Section ( a unit of the Royal Australian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) were in charge of recovering, towing and repairing broken down motor vehicles and other machinery.
7. According to the AWM the acronym WD stands for…
“… the American acronym for War Department used during the Second World War. This acronym was applied to all manner of objects including American vehicles serving with Commonwealth forces under the lend-lease arrangement.”

The Virtual Yallourn website would like to thank Mike Etzel (Assistant Curator/ Military Heraldry & Technology Section of the Australian War Memorial) and John Hutchinson (former Yallourn resident) for their kind assistance with various aspects of this extract.
This story is part of a history project entitled ‘From the Newspapers’ and a full list of titles in this series can be obtained by contacting Julie George. The research, writing and posting of this article were completed by Julie and Roger Spaull for the Virtual Yallourn website in August 2016

The above report from the ‘Morwell Advertiser’ has been faithfully reproduced. The only amendments to the original copy are the font style, font size and spacing, so as to enhance the story for the purposes of posting on the Virtual Yallourn website.