William John Cousins 1884 – 1917

William John Cousins was the eldest son of William and Charlotte Cousins, born in Mortehoe in 1884.

William’s parents married in Lee on Christmas Eve 1878, they would only spent one week apart during their long marriage. William and Charlotte had twelve children, all but one were alive when Charlotte died in 1878, the only one to have died was their eldest son William who was killed in action during the first world war. During the war five of their sons had served, two with the Australias, one with the 1st Life Guards, one with the R.A.F and one with the R.F.A

William signed up for service on the 25th September 1914, he was older than most when he signed at 30 years of age initially joining the 57th Battalion of the Australian Infantry, described at the time of his enlistment as being 5ft 10 with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and black hair.

His records show that during his time in active service he would be hospitalised on the 22nd January 1916 with influenza, transferred later for convalescence and returning to service later he was again admitted to hospital for a further injury on the 14th April of the same year, this time taking six days to recover before returning to the battlefield on the 21st April 1916.

William would serve until he was wounded on the 26th January 1917 in France where he was admitted to hospital for injuries to his hands, being transferred by ambulance train to Boulonge on the 31st January, he would die of his wounds on the 9th February.

His family would receive the news soon after, with his father receiving his sons only possessions of some letters, photos and a prayer book.

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