Lieutenant William Thomas Dartnell

Service Number 1172
Birth Date 06 April 1885
Birth Place Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Fitzroy
Death Date 03 September 1915
Death Place Kenya
Also known as Dartnell, Wilbur Taylor, Wilbur Taylor Dartnell, William Thomas Dartnell
Final Rank
London Gazette 23 December 1915 on page 12797 at position 1

William Dartnell, born at Collingwood, Melbourne, was only 15 years old when he enlisted for service in South Africa with the Victorian Mounted Rifles in 1901. He returned to South Africa in 1913 and was working there when war was declared. Using the name Wilbur Taylor Dartnell, he joined the 25th Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers, as a temporary lieutenant, and in April 1915 sailed for service in British East Africa.

Dartnell's Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously for his actions on 3 September 1915, near Maktau, East Africa. Wounded in the leg during an ambush, he insisted on being left behind to allow other wounded companions to be carried away. Though he was twice asked to leave, he refused and began firing at the Germans around him. When his body was found, seven enemy dead were lying nearby.

Dartnell was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously, he also received the Queen's South Africa Medal and service medals for the First World War.

Collection items


Honours & Awards

  • Honours and Awards:

    Victoria Cross
    British/Australian gallantry awards
    25th Bn RF
    First World War, 1914-1918
    Temporary Lieutenant
    London Gazette
    23 December 1915 on page 12797 at position 1


Date of birth 06 April 1885
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 12 February 1915 25 Battalion, Royal Fusiliers using the name Wilbur Taylor Dartnell.
Date of embarkation 1915-04 Embarked for British East Africa.
Awarded Victoria Cross 03 September 1915 For action at whilst serving with 25 (Service) Battalion (Frontiersmen), the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) as a Temporary Lieutenant
Date of death 03 September 1915

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