Just Another Pair Of Socks

Melton District ANZACS

William John Gibb BLACK


Born: 1890

Birthplace: Raywood, Victoria

Parents: David Black
Sarah Jane Doddin
Married: 1883

Died: 31 July, 1917

Cause: Accidental Death at campsite

Place of death: Belgium

Burial place: Dickebusch New Military cemetery (Extension) 3_ miles S.W. of Ypres.18/04/1918

Awards and Honours

  • 1914-1915 Star
  • British War Medal 1914-20
  • Victory Medal


4th Battery, Field Artillery2nd Australian Field Artillery Brigade



Regimental Service Number: 882

Enlistment date: 19 August, 1914 Victoria Barracks, Melbourne

Age at enlistment: 24 years 4 months

Address at enlistment: c/- Melton Railway Station Melton

Religion: Methodist

Marital Status: Single

Next of kin: Mother: Sarah Black

Physical Description: Height: 5 feet 5 inches
Weight: 12 stones 8 pounds
Complexion: Fair
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Fair
Distinctive marks: Vacccination x 1

Embarkation ship: Transport A9 Shropshire.

Rank: Driver

War Service Summary

19/08/1914   Enlisted
20/10/1914 Embarked Melbourne
03/01/1915 - Joined Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli
07/10/1915 - Forfeits 3 day pay AWOL 10.00 p.m. to 2.30 a.m. at Ghezireh, Alexandria
22/03/1916    Proceeded to join British Expeditionary Force 28/03/1916 - Disembarked at Marseilles
05/05/1916 - Left France; on leave
20/05/1916 - Rejoined Unit
31/07/1917 - Killed in Action; Belgium
27/09/1917 Director of Graves states Buried Dickebusch New Military cemetery (Extension) 3_ miles S.W. of Ypres.
18/04/1918 One packet of effect ex Barambah received by mother. 

War Service Commemerated

Killed in action.

Date: 31 July, 1917

Red Cross Report:
Conflicting reports about the accident.
1. L R Burdidge, 4780, stated “Casualty was sitting around a fire at Dickiebush, Ypres … A bar of amonel was placed on the fire accidently for cooking purposes causing a great explosion which killed casualty and three others. …”

A.H. Clybbe, 886, stated “… They put a bar across a fire to hang a Dixie on not knowing it was an Engineers blasting bar filled with explosive, when it got heated it exploded and killed Black and some others …”

Alternative view:

2. R. Cookley, Chaplain, stated “…We had removed from one position to another for horse lines, and three or four men started a fire in a small hole to make tea as the camp had not settled down.  Apparently there was a live shell under the surface and it exploded, killing three. I buried them the next day …”

Corroborating reports exist in the Red Cross

Additional Information

Melton Express

Bacchus Marsh Express
Saturday 8 April 1916, P 2
The recruiting meeting held, in the Mechanics' Institute here on Friday evening was well attended by both sexes. The proceedings opened with God save the King. Cr. Robinson (Shire President) presided. On the platform with him were Hon. Frank Clarke, M.L.C., Private A. T. Ozanne, and Sergeant McKenzie (a returned soldier), each of whom addressed the meeting, exhorting those present in every possible manner to enlist, and take up the duties for the protection of their people and country.
When a call was made for recruits, the following five young men responded - H.Sawyer, E. Minns, H. Black, and two of Mr. P. Nolan's sons, the latter making four from Mr. Nolan's family, as two others are already at the Front. A vote of thanks was accorded to Mr. and Mrs. Nolan, and acknowledged. The addresses were listened to in the orderly manner due to such occasions and each speaker was well received, and applauded for his effort. Mr. Frank Clarke explained why he resigned from the Central Recruiting Committee, and the explanation, was well received. The proceedings were enlivened by patriotic songs from Mrs. Allen, Miss Scotson and Mr. Percy Butler, who enlisted some short time back.
Melton Express
Saturday 27 May 1916 , P 2
A large assemblage took place on Saturday night last, when our volunteers were on a visit home, although the notice was very short. Watches were presented to Privates Harold Black, Edward Carew, Ernest Minns, Percy Stubbs, William  Stone (who has been to the Front, and returned ill) Henry Sawyer, George Ware, Private John Farrell (who already had a wristlet watch) was presented with an auto-strop razor and a pipe. Musical items were rendered by Mrs. J. H. Allen, Misses D. Farrell, and A. Riddell, Messrs. H. Cunningham, G. Jongebloed and Murison. Miss Ross (a visitor front Melbourne) supplied the dance music. The Committee intend presenting a wristlet watch (or its equivalent) to every volunteer from the Shire, including those who have gone away. The latter will be handed over to the relatives.
The Bacchus Marsh Express
Saturday 18 August 1917, P 2
And >
Melton Express
Saturday 18 August 1917, P 2
Mrs. Black, of Melton South, has been officially informed that her son William has been killed in Action in France. Private Black was one of the first to enlist from the Mellton district, and had completed over 1000 days on Active Service. Much sympathy is for the relatives in their loss.


Australian War Memorial
Service Record
Nominal Roll
Red Cross Report
Newspaper accounts