Next-of-Kin Plaque : Lance Corporal W J Goudemey, 1 Pioneer Battalion, AIF

Unit 1st Australian Pioneer Battalion
Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Pozieres Area, Pozieres
Accession Number REL/02524.003
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Bronze
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1922
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Bronze next of kin plaque, showing on the obverse, Britannia holding a laurel wreath, the British lion, dolphins, a spray of oak leaves and the words 'HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR' around the edge. Beneath the main figures, the British lion defeats the German eagle. The initials 'ECP', for the designer Edward Carter Preston appear above the lion's right forepaw. A raised rectangle above the lion's head bears the name 'WILLIAM GOUDEMEY'.

History / Summary

William James Goudemey was born at St Peters, New South Wales in 1894. He was serving in the militia with 39 Infantry Regiment and working as an iron moulder when he enlisted in the AIF, on 29 December 1914. After initial training he was assigned to 2 Battalion as a Private with the service number 1745, and embarked with the 4th Reinforcements aboard HMAT Argyllshire (A8) on 10 April 1915.

Goudemey joined the battalion at Gallipoli on 26 May 1915, and fought in the Battle of Lone Pine from 6 to 9 August of the same year. During the Turkish counterattack on 7 August, the battalion's Captain J H F Pain was ordered to bring a machine gun into action. He chose a position out in the open near a mound, and, in order to broaden his field of fire, he shifted the gun, positioning the legs of the tripod on the shoulders of Goudemey and two others, 972 Private William Nichol and 1787 Private James Alexander Montgomery. Pain swept the tops of the surrounding Turkish trenches with machine gun fire, and the Turks responded with bombs and rifle fire. The machine gun's water jacket was pierced, resulting in scalding water pouring on to the men below. Pain was himself wounded, but continued firing, and efforts of these men helped to suppress the Turkish counterattack. Goudemey was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for his actions during this battle, as was Private Nichol. Private Montgomery was wounded in further fighting the following day, and died of his wounds on 11 August. Captain Pain was awarded the Military Cross.

On 11 December 1915 Goudemey received a special Mention in Despatches by General Sir Ian Hamilton for 'services rendered in the Dardanelles operations.' He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 7 February 1916, and was again Mentioned in Despatches on 6 March.

Goudemey transferred to 1 Pioneer Battalion on 10 March and embarked for France, arriving at Marseilles on 2 April. His unit participated in the fighting around Pozieres, where he was killed instantly by a shrapnel wound to the side of the head on 23 July 1916. He was buried at Sunken Road, between Pozieres and Contalmaison, three and a half miles northeast of Albert. One of his comrades stated that a cross was erected over his grave, but this was obliterated in subsequent fighting, and the location of Goudemey's grave was lost. His name is recorded on the Villers-Brettoneux Memorial.

Goudemey's mother, Margaret, received this commemorative plaque in 1922.