Serial Number and Rank: 3180, Private
Parents: Robert Law
Enlisted: 1 November 1916. Occupation: Blacksmith of Milton
Previous military service: 28th Light Horse
Next of Kin: F. Robert Law of Yatte Yattah.
Service: 45th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement
RTA: 22 July 1917
Honour Rolls: Milton War Memorial, RSL Honour Roll, School, Milton Congregational Church
William Lawrence Law was born in Mansfield in Victoria, the son of Robert and Esther Law, he was working as a Blacksmith at Milton whilst his parents were living at Yatte Yattah when William volunteer for war service in October 1916 at the age of nearly 20 years with his parents’ permission.
He travelled to Victoria Barracks Sydney with his reporting papers from Milton Police Station. William had previous been with the Light Horse Brigade at Milton, on his enlistment he was assigned to the 45th Battalion, departing for overseas service aboard HMAT Beltana A72 from Sydney on November 25, 1916.
On arriving in England, he undertook training at Bulford in Wiltshire, he then qualified as a war shoeing smith in April 1917 and then became sick with VD, and admitted to the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital at Bulford in May 1917.
William was sent back to Australia for ‘Home Service” in August 1917, due to oedima in his legs and was medical discharged in October 1917; he was awarded the British War medal.
Other local men who also served with the 45th Battalion were Robert Backhouse, Robert Gibson Latta, George Asher Hamon, Arthur Beileiter and Robert James Lewis.
William’s older brother also served in WW1, but Joseph Law’s name is not listed on any local WW! Honour roll, as he was not from the area, even though his parents were living at Yatte Yattah during the war.
Joseph Law enlisted in March 1915 at Wangaratta Victoria, he departed for war service aboard HMAT Euripides A14 from Melbourne in May 1915, and served with the 24th Battalion.
Joseph sent many a letter to his parents, one such letter was published in the Milton Ulladulla Times in July 1916: Private Joseph Law (son of Mr. and Mrs Law of Yattah) writing from France to his parents tells of the enthusiastic reception the Australians received when going through France, and of the beauty, of the country through which they passed. He was then in the firing line. His position was not in a trench, but behind a wall of sandbags; the rain and mud were awful and the cold at nights freezing. Their position was only about 250 yards away front the opposing German lines, though he had not seen a sign of one yet. The enemy seem to send more shells into the houses back of the line than they do into the trenches. The Convent where the Germans played up and where the Prince had his great feast is just behind us, but’ there is only the walls left, At Anzac lice were our trouble, here it is rats there are thousands of them and as big as rabbits. As I write the Germans are banging away at one of our aeroplanes. They fire 40 or 50 shots at each one, but I have never seen them bring one down yet.
This was the last letter from Jospeh as he was killed in action on 29 July 1916 at Albert, France. He was buried at Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France. The sad news of his death reached the Law household in early September 1916.
The Milton Ulladulla Times reported that the deceased soldier went early to the war, and saw considerable service at Gallipoli surviving all the dangers of that corner of the fighting. He was still there at the evacuation, and was amongst the first batch of Australians to go to France. He saw considerable fighting there before being called upon to make the supreme sacrifice. He was a fine type of Australian soldier, with a true sense of patriotism and duty, and the call for men soon rallied him to the standard. To his bereaved parents and relatives the sincere sympathy of the public is extended. Though sad and accompanied by grief as death always is, yet the comforting thought is theirs that he surrendered his life in the dis charge of his duty to king and country. More than that no man can do.
The name of William Law is listed on the Milton War Memorial, Milton Ulladulla RSL Honour Roll, Milton School, and Milton Congregational Church Board.