Wednesday 8 August 2012 by Craig Blanch. 4 comments
Personal Stories, Collection, First World War

My name is Sam Warner and I am a work experience student from St Joseph’s College Echuca. As part of my week at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra I researched the story behind the Distinguished Conduct Medal of Sergeant William Dobson Scorer in the First World War. Here is his story.

Sergeant William Dobson Scorer died from wounds he received at Broodseinde Ridge. Sergeant William Dobson Scorer died from wounds he received at Broodseinde Ridge.

William Dobson Scorer was born in Essendon Victoria in November 1893, one of five children to Henry and Mary Scorer.  In his early life he attended Essendon State School where his name is now located on the Honour Board. He was working as a clerk when he joined the AIF on 30 July 1915. He enlisted with the 6th Reinforcements of the 24th Battalion and embarked on HMAT Ulysses on 27 October, bound for training in Egypt.

He later transferred to the 8th Infantry Battalion before moving to France in May 1916. Within two months of arriving Scorer had accomplished the rank of Sergeant. He was diagnosed with the mumps on 13 May 1917 but returned to duty 6 days later and regrouped with his Battalion on 26 May.

'No man's land' at Broodseinde Ridge on the day that Scorer was mortally wounded. 'No man's land' at Broodseinde Ridge on the day that Scorer was mortally wounded.

Sgt Scorer and the 8th Battalion were involved in the Third Battle of Ypres at Broodseinde Ridge east of Ypres on 4 October where he was heavily wounded and admitted to hospital 5 days later. Here he had his leg amputated but unfortunately did not recover from his wounds and died on the 24th. Scorer was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for his noticeable gallantry and dedication to duty during the attack.

From left, the Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1914-15 Star and British War Medal 1914-20 awarded to Sergeant William Scorer.

From the recommendation that was given it said that, “He assisted the intelligence officer in guiding the Battalion on to the tapes and maintained an efficient manner when held up by gun fire, where he then crept forward alone to bayonet 2 enemy soldiers and put the gun out of action, although he was wounded in this fight he persisted in his task until the objective was reached where again he was very badly wounded”.  Sergeant William Dobson Scorer is buried at the Etaples Military Cemetery in France.


Tony Peterson

Thank you Sam for your interesting article regarding William Scorer. I have been researching his father, a prominent unionist at the turn of the century and I missed the connection to his son in the AIF. Your research led me to details of the father in later life. It shows the value of the AWM collection in family and social history.

Sam Warner

You're Welcome, I'm glad my research could be of help.

Robert Mathieson

Sam, thanks for doing what you have, great to see, well done. May I ask. Sgt Scorer `s medals. If he embarked for egypt how come he has the Gallipoli Star?. Should he also have the Victory Medal. The reason I noticed was that may Grandfather was wound badly in the same battle. Kind regards.

Sam Warner

Thankyou Robert, the medal is actually the 1914-15 Star. It was awarded to those soldiers who had left Australia by the end of 1915. Sgt Scorer left Australia in October 1915 as it says in the blog. The Victory Medal was posted to Sgt Scorer’s father in 1923 but we do not know what became of it. It was not with the group when it came to the Memorial.