William Reginald Rawlings MM
William Reginald Rawlings was born in Purnim, Victoria and worked as a horse-breaker around the Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve before WWI. Although there were restrictions on enlistment for Indigenous Australians, Bill managed to enlist in March 1916 and eventually left for France with the 8th Reinforcements to the 29th Battalion.
In July 1918, Bill was part of the advance along Morlancourt Ridge. He led a successful charge against a Communications Post that forced out the enemy. He was commended for his ‘irresistible dash and courage’ and was awarded the Military Medal.
Bill was killed by a shell during the capture of Vauvillers in France. He is buried in the Heath Cemetery in France alongside his friend Corporal Harry Thorpe, a fellow Military Medal recipient who was killed in action on the same day.
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