Biography

Birth date: 26 March 1914
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Croydon
Death date: 06 December 1983
Final rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Service number: 69311 - Period 1950-1959
NX92 - Second World War, 1939-1945
Units:
  • RAIC
  • 2/2nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 14/32th Australian Infantry Battalion

Rolls and Awards

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Military Cross

  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards : Distinguished Service Order

  • Unit: 14/32th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Honours and Awards : Military Cross

  • Unit: 2/2nd Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945

Collection Items

Photograph

078349

SAMPUN, NEW BRITAIN. 1945-01-14. AUSTRALIAN ARMY OFFICERS HOLDING A CONFERENCE AT THE BATTALION HEADQUARTERS OF THE 14/32ND INFANTRY BATTALION. IDENTIFIED PERSONNEL ARE:- NX92 LIEUTENANT-COLONEL W.B. CALDWELL, COMMANDING OFFICER, 14/32ND INFANTRY BATTALION (1); NGX8 CAPTAIN B. FAIRFAX-ROSS, ALLIED...

078349

078382

SAMPUN AREA, NEW BRITAIN. 1945-01-16. PERSONNEL OF THE 12TH FIELD COMPANY, USING A BULLDOZER DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF A ROAD OVER KAULUM CREEK TO COMPLETE THE SAMPUN- KALAMPUN ROAD. IDENTIFIED PERSONNEL ARE:- NX92 LIEUTENANT-COLONEL W.B. CALDWELL, MC, COMMANDING OFFICER, 14/32ND INFANTRY...

078382

078386

SAMPUN, NEW BRITAIN. 1945-01-16. NX92 LIEUTENANT-COLONEL W.B. CALDWELL, MC, COMMANDING OFFICER, 14/32ND INFANTRY BATTALION.

078386

P04680.005

Group portrait of officers of the 2/2nd Battalion. Identified standing on the left is NX1837 Captain Courtney Norman Swinton from Armidale, NSW who later joined the RAAF, qualifying as a pilot. Also in the group, but positions unknown, are NX92 Major William Blythe Caldwell (later Lt Col, MC, DSO)...

P04680.005

076680

JACQUINOT BAY, NEW BRITAIN. 1944-11-04. WX5 BRIGADIER R.L. SANDOVER, COMMANDING OFFICER, 6TH INFANTRY BRIGADE (1); NX92 LIEUTENANT-COLONEL W.B. CALDWELL, MC, COMMANDING OFFICER, 14/32ND INFANTRY BATTALION (2) AND VX39028 MAJOR G.J.S. NELSON (3) WATCHING TROOPS OF THE 6TH INFANTRY BRIGADE UNLOADING...

076680

067880

TRINITY BEACH, QLD. 1944-07-23. MEMBERS OF ONE OF THE SYNDICATES ATTENDING THE STAFF AND COMMAND COURSE FOR SENIOR OFFICERS OF THE 7TH DIVISION, THE 9TH DIVISION AND CORPS UNITS ARRANGED BY HEADQUARTERS, 1ST AUSTRALIAN CORPS. IDENTIFIED PERSONNEL ARE:- NX92 LIEUTENANT COLONEL W.B. CALDWELL, MC, NEW...

067880

Timeline

Date of birth 1914-03-26 Croydon NSW
Date commissioned 1937-03-09
Interwar Service 1 1937-03-09 lieutenant 30th battalion
Interwar Service 2 1939-03-04 2/35th
Interwar Service 3 1939-09-04 2nd battalion
Career summary 1 1939-10-13 seconded as lieutenant 2/2nd battalion from 2nd battalion
Career summary 2 1939-10-24 enlisted 2AIF
Career summary 4 1940-01-08 - 1940-02-03 course Middle East Weapons Training School (Middle East Wpn Training Sch
Career summary 5 1940-01-11 captain (bd 13 Oct 39) reported
Career summary 6 1940-02-09 attached Leicester regiment 5
Career summary 7 1940-11-10 course Middle East Tactical School ? Oct
Career summary 8 1941-03-07 Military Cross
Career summary 11 1941-11-20 - 1942-01-25 attached Headquarters 6thDivision
Career summary 12 1942-03-27 arrived Ceylon
Career summary 13 1942-06-24 attached 16th Brigade group Training School 2
Career summary 14 1942-08-04 Returned to Australia (Melb)
Career summary 15 1942-08-11 temporary lieutenant colonel, commanding officer 5th battalion
Appointment 1942-08-11 - 1942-11-05 Battalion: 5th; Rank on appointment: major, temporary lieutenant colonel ; Appointed from: 2/2nd battalion ; Reason for end of appointment: new command -infantry battalion (was 5th disbanded?)
Career summary 17 1942-11-05 commanding officer (retain temporary lieutenant colonel) 14/32nd battalion
Appointment 1942-11-05 - 1945-07-23 Battalion: 14/32nd; Rank on appointment: major, temporary lieutenant colonel ; Appointed from: commanding officer 5th battalion ; Reason for end of appointment: new command -BU ???
Career summary 20 1943-06-20 medical accidental knee injury
Career summary 19 1943-07-01 arrived New Guinea
Career summary 21 1944-06-23 Returned to Australia (Townsville ) ex Lae
Career summary 22 1944-07-31 arrived New Guinea
Career summary 23 1944-11-04 Arrived New Britain
Career summary 24 1945-04-08 Returned to Australia (Bris)
Career summary 25 1945-04-22 - 1945-06-03 course Land Headquarters Tactical School (senior Offrs)
Career summary 26 1945-07-23 commanding officer NSW Lines of Communication Area lieutenantD
Career summary 27 1945-11-29 relinquished command NSW Lines of Communication Area lieutenantD
Career summary 28 1946-02-01 Reserve of Officers
Career summary 29 1946-02-21 Companion of the Distinguished Service Order
Citations 8 1946-02-21 Recmd by R.H. Sandover, COMD 6th Bde, CAG
Career summary 30 1957-12-31 Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Date of death 1983-12-06
Career summary 3 c 1940-01-08 arrived Middle East (AIF Adv Party)
Career summary 9 c 1941-03-19 arrived Greece
Career summary 10 c 1941-06-13 arrived Middle East ex Crete
Career summary 16 lieutenant colonel 1 Sep 42 (this appears to have been backdated though, because he is appointed to his next comd still as a temporary lieutenant colonel)
Career summary 18 course School of Artillery anti tank senior officers 8 Dec 42-21 Jan 43 (inc annual leave)
Citations 2 'On the morning of the 4 Jan. 41 "A" Coy. was givent he task of capturing a gun position on the heights above LOWER BARDIA.
Citations 3 Despite the fact that the enemy were sniping vigourously Capt. CALDWELL went forward and formulated his plan for the attack from first hand information, enabling his Coy. eventually to capture the position which contained four 3" dual purpose A.A. Guns and sveral machine guns.
Citations 4 His coolness and courage under fire set a stirring example to the men under his command.'
Citations 5 EXT Sheet DN 1/41 LG 35357/41 Recmd by LTCOL FO Chilton CO 2/2nd Bn
Citations 7 'For consistently valuable services in connection with the first landing of Aust tps in JACQUINOT BAY and the subsequent advance into WIDE BAY. On Oct 44 this officer was in command of the initial landing of 14/32 Aust Inf Bn in NEW BRITAIN and played a leading part in the tactical and administrative planning for this operation. From then until the fall of KAMANDRAN in Feb 45 Lt-Col CALDWELL's Bn were the leading tps in 6 Aust Inf Bde's advance to TOL. The successful development of a series of bases along the coast owed much to his careful and detailed work. He commanded his Bn during the final assault on TOL-WAITAVALO and was responsible for the capture of SUGI MT, the loss of which finally broke the Japanese resistance in that area. His leadership throughout the whole operation was an inspiration to His Bn. H has commanded 14/32 Aust Inf Bn for nearly 2 1/2 years. He previously served with 2/2 Aust Inf Bn and was decorated for gallantry in GREECE.'
WW2 Service 1 Bardia-Benghazi
WW2 Service 4 New Guinea
WW2 Service 5 New Britain