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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


"Bill" Willie Elphinstone YEO

Born 19 August 1883 in Kerang, Victoria, Australia [16]
Son of Charles Henry YEO and Elizabeth Jane GARDEN [15]
He worked for the Midland Railway Company of Western Australia, whose railway ran from Midland Junction to Walkaway [6] [50]
Railway Night Officer in Three Springs in 1914 [10: 19-Jun-1914]
Arrived in Three Springs in mid 1914, and shortly afterwards put out a rifle shooting challenge to locals for targets up to a mile [10]
In 1915 he worked as a Relief Officer for the Midland Railway Company [390: 18-Sep-1915]
He was the Acting Railway Stationmaster in Three Springs in December 1914 and August 1915 [9: 27-Aug-1915] [31: 16-Dec-1914]
Pallbearer at the funeral of Three Springs stationmaster John GLYNN at Karrakatta Cemetery on 15 September 1915 [390: 18-Sep-1915]
Railway Clerk in the Perth suburb of Midland Junction in 1916 [30]
Enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at the Blackboy Hill military camp in the Perth hills on 11 April 1916 [30: item 3454811]
     On enlistment he was 5 feet 6½ inches tall, weighing 140 pounds with grey eyes, light hair and a fair complexion [30]
     Gave his father as his next of kin, his address at the time being Roseberry Avenue in Birkenhead, Auckland, New Zealand [30]
     Following training at Blackboy Hill he was appointed to 21st Reinforcements of the 16th Battalion on 1 May 1916 [30]
     Embarked Fremantle, Western Australia for active service abroad on the H.M.A.T. A39 Port Macquarie on 13 October 1916 [30]
     Disembarked in Plymouth, England on 12 December 1916 and after further training proceeded to France on 8 February 1917 [30]
     Lance Corporal 6470 in the Australian Imperial Force's 16th Battalion in France during the First World War [30]
     He and four others of the 16th Battalion were taken Prisoners of War by German forces at Riencourt, France on 11 April 1917 [30]
     They had run out of bombs, were surrounded, and after another officer raised a white flag had been obliged to surrender [30]
     The five of them were searched and questioned at German headquarters and then made to work as part of working parties [30]
     One of the other men was Alexander B. GLOSTER, who in later years was the Licensee and Manager of the Coorow Hotel [19] [30]
     They worked under harsh conditions and for the first six months their captors didn't give them their Red Cross parcels or letters [30]
     Worked in camps in Germany, and for two months was hospitalised where he received fairly good medical treatment [30]
     Following the signing of the Armistice they were sent to Copenhagen, Denmark and were then repatriated to England by ship [30]
     Embarked from England on the H.T. Ascanius and disembarked in Fremantle, Western Australia on 17 March 1919 [30]
     Discharged from the Australian Imperial Force on 2 May 1919 [30]
Married Laura HART of Muchea on Saturday 14 June 1919 at the Church Hall in Muchea [9: 27-Jun-1918]
     Their wedding was the first to be held at the Muchea Church Hall, with his wife having helped raise the the hall's building fund [9]
Railway Stationmaster in Dongara 1919-1921 [6] [19]
Railway Stationmaster in Gingin 1921-1930 [6] [120: 19-Dec-1929]
In 1936 he was working as a Goods Agent for the Midland Railway Company [50]
Resided at 18 Padbury Terrace in the Perth suburb of Midland Junction from 1931 until at least 1949 [6]
Pallbearer at the funeral of Midland Railway Company employee Percy C. MACPHERSON in Middle Swan in 1940 [129: 7-Nov-1940]
Resided of late in the Perth suburb of Inglewood [2]
Died 4 July 1963; ashes scattered over the rose garden at the Karrakatta Cemetery in Perth, Western Australia [2]

From The Western Mail newspaper, Thursday 19 December 1929:
Country Towns and Districts - Moora and Gingin - Historic Midland Districts - Prominent Personalities
"Nearly 30 years' experience as a railwayman stands to the credit of Mr W. E. Yeo, who has been station master at Gingin for nine years. During 20 years' service with the Midland Railway Company he has seen the traffic treble in volume, principally as a result of the strides made in the production of wheat in districts further along the line. Before joining the company, Mr Yeo spent nearly 10 years in the Government railways as a clerk, being stationed at Fremantle and other places. Before the war he was an enthusiastic rifleman and competed at meetings in Perth. He had a plentiful stock of reminiscences but many relate to unpleasant circumstances, for while serving the 16th Battalion at Bullecourt he was captured and spent an enforced holiday of 20 months in Germany. He refers to them as hard times."

Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'Willie Elphinstone Yeo' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 26 June 2022 from [reference list]

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