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William Francis (Will) Robertson (1890–1917)

The sad news came to hand on Monday that 1st Lieutenant William Francis Robertson, son of Mr. and Mrs M. W, Robertson, Ovens street, Wangaratta, and formerly of the State School, Milawa, had been killed in action early in the month. His brother Lieut. Lubin Robertson cabled the information from the Western Front, France, on 11th inst, and it was received by Rev, V. Chisholm, Mr. Robertson, who has just been appointed to the staff of relieving teachers, was absent in the Colac district, and a telegram it was sent to him to, come to Wangaratta at once, Rev.  Mr. Chisholm and Mr. Wilkie Robertson, of Rutherglen yesterday morning travelled to Benalla to meet and break the news to Mr. Robertson. 'Those who knew Lieut. W. F. Robertson will be grieved to learn of his death, and they and also the very large circle of friends of Mr. and Mrs Robertson and family will extend to them heart felt sympathy in this their time of sorrow. Lieut. Robertson was a devoted and worthy son. His genial nature and manly conduct won for him the esteem of all with who he came in contact. He was the eldest son and 25 years of age. He was educated in his father's school, and later attended the Grammar School at Wangaratta. From there he went to the Teachers' Training College, Melbourne, and, finally entered the University, where he passed all examinations with credit. He then secured a high position on the staff at, the Errol Street school, North Carlton, one of the best known educational establishments in the suburbs. When he had been 12 months there, he heard the call of his country, and responded. He went into camp nearly two years ago, and trained at Geelong, Broadmeadows, Royal Park and Seymour. Prior to enlisting he was a Lieutenant in the Senior Cadets but joined up in a private in order that he would be with his brother Lubin. He went through the School of Instruction for officers, and left Australia on 3rd June, 1916, as Sergeant in the A.I.P. he was at Salisbury Plains Camp, and was selected to go through a further course of instruction at a training school for officers. He showed remarkable ability as a soldier, and was granted his Commission. Eight months ago he left England for France, and took his part in some of the big engagements in which the Australians have won distinction. He was slightly injured in the finger on one occasion, but was never off duty. Several interesting letters from Lieut. Robertson have appeared in '"The Chronicle.'' He was marked out for distinction but alas, what promised to be a brilliant career has been abruptly ended by the deeds of a ruthless enemy, who has already accounted for so many of the best of Australia's young and heroic manhood.

Lieut. Robertson was a sport in the true sense of the word and in tennis, football, or cricket, he played the game fairly and honorably — just as he has played "the game" in the greater tussel for right on the battlefields of France. His brothers are Lieut. Lubin Robertson, on service; Mr. Wilkie Robertson, on the staff of the Higher Elementary School, Rutherglen; Mr. Frank Robertson, Bank of N.S.W. staff, Wangaratta; and Master Stewart Robertson; and sisters are Cecelia, Grace and Jean, Wangaratta.

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Robertson, William Francis (Will) (1890–1917)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


October, 1890
Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia


14 June, 1917 (aged 26)
Western Front, France

Cause of Death

killed in action

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Military Service