William was the son of Thomas and Charlotte Coade of Stanthorpe, Queensland. Although he stated he was thirty nine when he enlisted in May 1916, he was really forty two. At the time he was a Fitter, living at Inverell. Just three weeks later he married before being publically farewelled at Inverell School of Arts. His wife pinned on his Inverell medal at this function.
William joined the 34th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement, attended a Bayonet school and then sailed from Sydney on HMAT A68 Anchises in January 1917. After arriving in England he was transferred to the 63rd Battalion and sent to France in August. He was appointed Lance Corporal in November. Four months later he was wounded in action and invalided back to England. He was admitted to Richmond Military Hospital with a severe gunshot wound to his leg which had to be amputated.
William returned to Australia in July 1918 and medically discharged. He was given a Welcome Home at the Inverell Council Chambers and also at Stannifer where residents presented him with a pair of inscribed gold cuff links. For some years he served on the committee of the Inverell Soldier’s Club and later was elected President. In 1921 when NSW Governor Davidson and his wife visited the region, William had the honour of driving them from Glen Innes to Inverell.
Photo: Private collection