Colonel William John Wain

Service number 2681, WX1576
Ranks Held Private, Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel
Birth Date 07 August 1899
Birth Place Australia: Western Australia, Perth
Final Rank Colonel
Service Australian Army
Unit 2/43rd Australian Infantry Battalion
Place Perth
  • First World War, 1914-1918
  • Second World War, 1939-1945
Gazettes Published in London Gazette in 1943-10-14
Published in London Gazette in 1943-06-24
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1944-03-16
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1944-01-06



Date of birth 07 August 1899
WW1 Service 1 1915-06-14 - 1916-02-24 Private 7th battalion
Date of embarkation 26 August 1915
WW1 Service 2 06 March 1916 59th battalion 24th Feb-1
WW1 Service 3 15 July 1919 15thmachine gun Company (later 5thmachine gun battalion ) 16 Mar 1916-to discharge
Date commissioned 03 February 1926
Interwar Service 1 03 February 1926 lieutenant 14th battalion
Interwar Service 2 05 May 1930 captain
Interwar Service 3 23 February 1933 Reserve of Officers
Interwar Service 4 23 February 1934 14th battalion
Interwar Service 5 25 January 1938 6 Infantry Brigademachine gun officers
Interwar Service 6 01 August 1938 RAA (M) Hvy Bty
Interwar Service 8 14 January 1940 11 battalion
Interwar Service 9 14 January 1940 13 Brigademachine gun offr (seconded)
Career summary 1 01 May 1940 Seconded from 13 Brigade to 2/16th battalion
Career summary 2 01 May 1940 major 2/16th battalion
Career summary 4 06 November 1941 lieutenant colonel 29 Dec 1941 (bd 1
Appointment 1941-11-16 - 1943-07-22 Battalion: 2/43rd; Rank on appointment: major, temporary lieutenant colonel ; Appointed from: 2/16th battalion ; Reason for end of appointment: age ??
Career summary 3 1941-11-16 - 1943-07-22 temporary lieutenant colonel, commanding officer 2/43rd battalion
Career summary 5 04 November 1942 wounded in action
Career summary 7 27 February 1943 Returned to Australia
Career summary 9 06 August 1943 command 5 Garrison Brigade
Career summary 8 26 August 1943 Mention in Despatches (for 1 May-22 Oct 1943)
Career summary 10 03 November 1943 Companion of the Distinguished Service Order
Career summary 11 1944-01-30 - 1944-03-30 commanding officer Tasmania Lines of Communication Area
Career summary 12 1944-03-30 - 1944-08-01 commanding officer 1 Aust Beach group
Career summary 13 07 November 1944 Reserve of Officers
Career summary 6 [evac from El Al with anxiety neurosis]
Citations 2 For most distinguished service and devotion to duty during the period 23 Oct to 23 Jan 43. Lt.-Col. W.J. WAIN commanded 2/43 Aust. Inf. Bn. throughout the battles at El ALAMEIN with outstanding ability and continuous gallantry. In 24 Aust. Inf. Bde's operations of July/November, in which the Bn. took a major and continuous part, Lt-Col. WAIN inspired his men by his unshakeable determination to close with the enemy and give no ground.
Citations 3 Near SIDI ABD EL RAHMAN between 31 October - 1 November, 2/43 Bn. was holding the extremity of a salient on ground vital to both ourselves and the enemy. This position was held, although it was overlooked by enemy positions on two sides and subjected to some six attacks in fourteen hours by enemy tanks and infantry with heavy fire support. Lt-Co; WAIN moved about to direct operations, heedless of severe fire, encouraging his subordinates by personal contact, and skilfully bringing fire to bear as a result of his personal observations.
Citations 4 It had not been possible to reinforce the Bn. in daylight, but despite casualties in arms and personnel, the Bn. clung to its position, counter-attacking for lost ground, until the enemy withdrew. On 1 Nov. Lt-Col. Wain was blown out of his OP by a shell, but despite the shock and the effects of the blast, he continued to direct operations and refused evacuation until 3 November, when the situation was stabilised.
Citations 5 Throughout the period under review Lt-Col. Wain has inspired his unit by these and similar acts of gallantry, by his meticulous attention to detail in planning and by his drive in training and leadership.
Interwar Service 7 7 Hvy Brigade RAA
Served 1914-1918 Command: ; Service: Western Front
WW2 Service 1 El Alamein
WW2 Service 2 New Guinea