Battalion 2/23rd Infantry Battalion
Place of Birth. Edinburgh Scotland 4 July 1913
Next of Kin Dorothy Pollock. his wife of Middle Tarwin
Son of Francis and Elizabeth Pollock of Prahran East formerly of Wonthaggi. Dorothy and Bill had two young children Valarie and Bill.
Date and place of enlistment
25 June 1940 Caulfield
Location on enlistment Buffalo
Date and place of death
17 May 1941 aged 27 at El Alamein Egypt
Location of grave or memorial
Bill has no known grave and his name is on the memorial at Alamein Egypt. He is remembered on the Leongatha Memorial and the Buffalo Honour Roll
Relationship to Woorayl Shire
Bill emigrated to Australia from Scotland 2 April 1925 aged 11 with his mother, 5 brothers and 1 sister on the Benella. His father had emigrated 2 years earlier and lived in Wonthaggi, working in the coal mines. At aged 15 Bill also worked in the mines with his father and brothers. He later worked in East Gippsland and then returned to Wonthaggi. He wanted to be a farmer. Bill married Dorothy Annie Brown in 1937 and they had two children Valarie and Francis William (Bill). They shared farmed for the Buckley family at Buffalo for 18 months before Bill enlisted.
The 2/23rd Infantry Battalion was raised at the Albury Showgrounds in New South Wales in August 1940, as part of the 26th Brigade. Initially the brigade belonged to the 7th Division but in early 1941 moved to the 9th Division. The battalion did its initial training in Albury before moving to Bonegilla, on the Victorian side of Murray River. The battalion embarked Sydney on 8 April 1941and arrived in the Middle East in November.
In early 1941 the battalion moved into Cyrenica in Libya to complete its training. Despite British successes at the start of the year against German-led counter-attacks, the 9th Division fell back to Tobruk. The 2/23rd entered Tobruk between 6 and 10 April.
The battalion helped defend Tobruk for eight months. In April the 2/23rd defended the western side and from May to July 1942 they defended the eastern side and this is where Bill was killed. His brother Horace, who was serving with him, saw Bill shot. Horace was captured and became a POW in Germany. At first it was believed that Bill was a POW but it was later confirmed that he had been killed in action.