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Private William Charles Tucker, 1581, 'B' Company, 32nd Infantry Battalion, AIF
First World War Army Australian
By Nick Tucker

United Kingdom

Private William Charles Tucker
View record on CWGC

William Charles Tucker was born on 17 February, 1896, at Norwood, in South Australia, the son of James Douglas Percy Tucker, and Margaret Tucker, who later lived at 146 Grant Avenue, Rose Park, in Toorak, Adelaide, South Australia. He had two brothers who also served with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) (James Roland, who died of wounds in October, 1917, and Francis George, who served as a Lieutenant.)

William Charles Tucker was unmarried and worked as a hardware assistant.

Prior to enlistment in the AIF he had served for two years in the cadets, and the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Citizen Forces.

World War One Service
Australian Imperial Force cap badge (copyright unknown)

William Charles Tucker enlisted in the AIF at Keswick, in South Australia, on 12 July, 1915. He was posted to 'M' Group Base Infantry, as a Private, no. 1581. He was aged 19 years and 5 months, and described as being: 5' 6½" tall; with auburn hair; brown eyes; a fair complexion; weighing 137 lbs; and a chest measurement of 33"/35".

Private William Charles Tucker (copyright unknown)

The 32nd Infantry Battalion, AIF, was raised on 9 August, 1915, in Mitcham, in South Australia, for overseas service. 'A' and 'B' Companies were made up of recruits from South Australia, 'C' and 'D' Companies were formed in Perth, Western Australia.

On 16 August, 1916, Private William Charles Tucker joined the 1st Reinforcements for the 32nd Infantry Battalion, AIF. After completing basic training, the battalion left Australia, and Private Tucker embarked aboard the HMAT Geelong on 18 November, 1915, and disembarked at Suez on 15 December.

On 24 January, 1916, he was posted to 'B' Company.

Service in Egypt and France

In Egypt, the battalion became part of the newly formed 8th Brigade, which was attached to the 5th Division. After a further period of training, he embarked with the battalion at Alexandria on 17 June, 1916, bound for France, where he disembarked at Marseilles on 23 June, to join the fighting on the Western Front.

The following month, after spending a short period in the Armentières sector, the battalion was committed to the front for the first time on 16 July 1916.

Three days after taking up position in the trenches the 32nd Infantry Battalion took part in the fighting around Fromelles, being committed as part of the 8th Brigade's initial assault on the extreme left of the Australian front that was focused around the German strongpoint known as the 'Sugar Loaf'. During that fighting it suffered 718 casualties, a third of the battalion's total casualties for the entire war, which equalled roughly 90 percent of its effective strength.

William Charles Tucker was reported 'missing in action' following the attack on the village of Fromelles on 20 July, 1916.

On 4 November, 1916, a prisoner of war list received by the Wounded and Missing Bureau listed his identification marks, and listed under 'Dead'. He was then listed as 'killed in action'.


William Charles Tucker was initially buried in an unmarked mass grave by the Germans, which was not discovered until 2009. His remains were then exhumed, identified and reburied at Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, in Nord, France.

He is also commemorated on the Adelaide war memorial in South Australia, together with his brother, James Roland Tucker.

Private William Charles Tucker's CWGC headstone in Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery (copyright CWGC)

William Charles Tucker's service earned him the 1914-15 Star; British War Medal, 1914-20; and Victory Medal, 1914-19, which were issued to his father, together with a memorial plaque and memorial scroll to commemorate his sacrifice.