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Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne

Pentland, William Christie

Place of Birth: Port Melbourne, VIC

Age: 36 years 1 month

Enlistment Details: Saturday, 27 April 1915 – Melbourne, VIC

Service Number: N/A           view online service record

Bourke Street
Cheltenham, VIC

Next of Kin:
William Christie Pentland
Bourke Street
Cheltenham, VIC

Embarkation Details:
Date: Tuesday, 14 March 1916
Ship: HMAT Anchises A68
Port: Melbourne, VIC
Unit: 14th Infantry Battalion – 15th Reinforcements

RTA: Friday, 7 February 1919

William Christie Pentland at the Pentland family home in Cheltenham with his parents William Christie snr and Euphemia. Courtesy Pentland Family.

Born in Port Melbourne on 4 Nov 1878.

He attended the South Melbourne College and worked as a Master Coachbuilder in the family business of W & A Pentland Coachbuilders, Ingles St Port Melbourne.

He saw 15 months active service in the Boer War in 1901-1902 serving with the Mounted Rifles.

He enlisted for World War 1 service on 27 April 1915, aged 36, and served in the 46th Battalion (Australian Imperial Force) with the Rank of Lieutenant.

He embarked on 14/3/1916 first to Egypt and then served in active service in France. He was involved in the First Battle of Bullecourt 11 April 1917

Bullecourt, a village in northern France, was one of several villages to be heavily fortified and incorporated into the defences of the Hindenburg Line in 1917.

In March 1917, the German army had withdrawn to the Hindenburg Line in order to shorten their front and thus make their positions easier to defend. This move was rapidly followed up by the British and empire forces, and they launched an offensive around Arras in early April 1917.

To assist the Arras operations, an attack was launched on Bullecourt on 11 April 1917 by the 4th Australian and 62nd British Divisions. The attack was hastily planned and mounted and resulted in disaster. Tanks which were supposed to support the attacking Australian infantry either broke down or were quickly destroyed. Nevertheless, the infantry managed to break into the German defences. Due to uncertainty as to how far they had advanced, supporting artillery fire was withheld, and eventually the Australians were hemmed in and forced to retreat. The two brigades of the 4th Division that carried out the attack, the 4th and 12th, suffered over 3,300 casualties; 1,170 Australians were taken prisoner – the largest number captured in a single engagement during the war.

During the action he was stranded on the wire with a gunshot wound and a fractured leg. He was admitted to a Red Cross hospital in Rouen France and then was repatriated to the Prince of Wales Hospital in London and later sent to Ireland for convalescence. His leg was amputated above the knee.

He was mentioned in despatches for conspicuous service.

And his action is cited in Bean, C E W, Official History of Australia in the War 1914-1918.
Volume IV The Australian Imperial Force in France 1917

The photograph above was taken in 1919 with his parents William Christie senior and Euphemia Pentland, at their family home in Cheltenham.

He was fitted with an artificial leg and returned to work in the family coach and motor building firm specialising in sign writing on carriages and later on motor vehicles.

W & A Pentland Coach & Motor Body Builders. Courtesy Pentland Family.

He married Edith Brown on 13 Sept 1919 and they had one daughter.

He died in Sandringham on the 29 December 1960 aged 82.

William is listed on the Presbyterian Church and Sandridge Marine Lodge Honour Boards.

1917 ‘Lieutenant Pentland Wounded.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 19 May, p. 2. , viewed 05 Apr 2017,

1918 ‘LIEUT. W. C. PENTLAND.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 8 June, p. 3. , viewed 17 Apr 2018,


  • Brian Membrey
    Posted July 21, 2016 5.23 pm 0Likes

    Served Boer War as 813, Lance Corporal, 5 Victorian Mounted Rifles, A 23 year-old coach-builder and painter in partnership with his father, William senior at 39 Ingles Street, Port Melbourne.

    • Catherine Tiernan
      Posted April 12, 2020 9.34 pm 0Likes

      William Christie Pentland spent some time recuperating in a Red Cross auxiliary hospital in Northern Ireland. I am currently researching the WW1 AIF officers who stayed in this particular hospital, and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss his experiences.

      • Penny Dewar
        Posted September 19, 2021 11.00 am 0Likes

        Hello Catherine, I am William’s granddaughter. His daughter Elsie Morison Pentland was my mother. I have all his letters from his WW1 service, including his time in hospital. You are welcome to contact me.

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We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we meet and work, the Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation and pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.