PLUNKETT, William (DCM)
Service Number – 586.
Rank – Sergeant.
Unit / Division – 11th Battalion.
Enlistment Date – 10 September 1914.
Address on Enlistment – N/A.
Occupation on Enlistment – Labourer.
Next of Kin on Enlistment – Father- W. Plunkett, Police Court, Liverpool, England.
Religion – Church of England.
Embarkation Details – From Fremantle on 2 November 1914 on HMAT A11 “ Ascanius “.
KIA / Mortally Wounded –
Date – 16 April 1917.
Place – Villers – Brettoneux, Somme, France.
Age at Death – 35.
Burial Location / Commemoration Details – Australian National Memorial, Villers – Brettoneux, Somme, France. – ( No Known Grave ).
Panel Number, Roll of Honour (Australian War Memorial) – 63
Private Plunkett was recommended for Award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal on 30 May 1916 – ” For conspicuous gallantry. Following on a fierce bombardment by the enemy a raid was attempted on impotant works in the line after a considerable length of the parapet had been demolished. Although twice knocked down by bombs thrown by a raiding party he used a Lewis Machine Gun with good effect from a position in advance of the debris and though subjected to hostile machine gun and rifle fire he remained in action until temporary defences had been constructed. ”
Date of London Gazette :- 1 January 1917.
Location in London Gazette :- Page 51, Position 25.
Date of Commonwealth of Australia Gazette :- 29 June 1917.
Location in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette :- Page 1390, Position 134.
On 20 January 1917, Private ( since promoted to Sergeant ) Plunkett, was recommended for the prestigious ‘ Croix De Guerre “ ( Conferred by the President of the French Republic ), by the G.O.C 1st Aust. Division for the same action that saw him awarded the DCM at Fleurbaix, France on 30 May 1916.
Date of London Gazette :- 1 May 1917.
Location in London Gazette :- Page 4160, Position 1.
Date of Commonwealth of Australia Gazette :- 4 October 1917.
Location in Commonwealth of Australia Gazette :- Page 2622, Position 15.
Sergeant Plunkett was declared missing in action on 16 April 1917, and a signed statement from 613 Corporal WOLFENDEN, A. W. 11th Battalion on 19 April 1917 clearly spells out Sergeant Plunketts fate:- ” On the morning of 15th April 1917 Sergeant Plunkett was in charge of a small post about 30 yards from my own and whilst there he was wounded in the left ankle, he then attampted to crawl from his position over to my post, but when about half way over he was hit twice more, one just above the right knee and the other through the centre of the back. I immediately went out to his assistance amd managed to get him back into my position but he died about 10 minutes after. We were unable to bury him as we were surrounded by the Germans at that time and were taken prisoners about an hour later. ”
Statements were also provided by 6241 Private ROSS, Kenneth Stuart ( in same trench as Wolfenden ), and Lieutenant LAMERTON, G.A. 11th Battalion who were both taken as Prisoners of War in the same action, and verified Wolfenden’s statement. This action was stated as taking place at Louveral/Lagnicourt, France..