William was born in Collingwood, VIC to William Thompson Serjeant and Sarah Ann Hansell - they are both buried in Maddingley Cemetery. William married Cora Blanche Cumming in 1903 and they had at least one child, Evelyn Blanche, born in Carlton North in 1904.
In 1901 William joined the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles as a Shoeing Smith and embarked for South Africa and the Boer War. He spent 437 days abroad before returning to Australia in 1902 - he is listed on the Bacchus Marsh Boer War Memorial.
William was a labourer and gave his address as Brunswick, VIC when he enlisted in the AIF on the 13th of July 1917, aged 38. In August he was allocatted to the 25th Reinforcements, 14th Battalion before he embarked aboard the HMAT A71 Nestor in November and disembarked at Suez, Egypt in December. After re-embarking from Alexandria, Egypt he finally disembarked at Southampton, England in January 1918 after a stopover at Taranto, Italy - he then reverted to the ranks from acting Lance Corporal.
Two days after disembarking, in January 1918, he was again made an acting Lance Corporal - till the end of the month. In April William joined his unit in France but in July was wounded in action - gunshot wound to the buttock - and rejoined his unit in late August. For his actions on the 18th of September he was awarded the Military Medal.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty near ASCENSION WOOD on 18th. September 1918.After passing the RED LINE the battalion came under heavy machine gun fire. As it was difficult to locate the positions of the enemy guns this man crawled forward under heavy fire. From his new position he was able to locate the guns and from his information Lewis Guns were able to engage the enemy guns thus allowing the advance to continue. Again in a later stage of the advance he, as No. 2 of a Lewis Gun engaged an enemy machine gun, at 50 yards, which was infilading a trench and preventing a bombing party from going forward and eventually silenced it. His work throughout the whole enterprise was marked for its skill, coolness and resourcefulness, while his personal bravery was beyond all praise.Source: recommendation for the Military Medal
In early October he was finally promoted to Lance Corporal before returning to England in March 1919 where he embarked aboard the Kildonian Castle, returning to Australia in May and was discharged from the AIF later that month.
William died at Northcote, VIC in 1957, aged 77.
He is listed on the Roll of Honour for Bacchus Marsh and District, published in The Bacchus Marsh Express on the 21st of December 1918.
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Last updated by lee, Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:15:24