William Doyle HOBSON

Year of Birth:  1890

Place of Birth:  Toowoomba, Queensland

Date of Enlistment:  8 January 1915

Date and Place of Embarkation:  6 April 1915, Brisbane, Queensland

Ship:  HMAT Star of England A15

Rank:  Sergeant

Unit(s):  49th Australian Infantry Battalion

Regimental Number:  1855

Died:  16 August 1916


Sergeant William Doyle Hobson – photo courtesy Discovering Anzacs


Emma Mary Doyle (with kitten), her brother Tom (William Doyle Hobson  RHS) their mother Emiy  (seated) – photo Ancestry.com


William Doyle Hobson was born in Toowoomba on the 10 January 1890 to William Doyle Hobson and Emith (Emily) Edith Symes and had one sister Mary Emma Lucille born 1886.  Mary Emma married Arthur Walker in 1912.

Williams father, a long established general merchant in Cairns, died in 1900 and is buried in McLeod Street Pioneer Cemetery, and his mother Emily Edith died in Southport, Queensland, 1920.

In the 1912 Electoral Roll, William Doyle was  a farmer in Hambledon and his mother and sister were living in Lake Street, Cairns. He was also a member of the Hambledon Rifle Club.

On his enlistment in Cairns in 1915 he was 25 years 11 months, occupation farmer and next of kin Mrs. E.E.Hobson, Lake Street, Cairns.  This was later changed to “parents dec’d, no brothers, only sister Mrs. L. Walker Hambledon, Cairns”.  His height was 6 feet 1 ½ inches, weighed 164 pounds with dark complexion, grey eyes and black hair.  His religion was Church of England.

Prior to his service in the 49th Battalion, William Doyle served in the Far North Queensland Kennedy Regiment, known as the Dirty 500. Members of the Dirty 500, including William, landed on Thursday Island on 16 August 1914 from the troopship “Kanowna”, to take part in the capture of German New Guinea. An incident on board the “Kanowna” involving the firemen forced the immediate return of the troops to Townsville on 18 August 1914; William was discharged the same day.

William embarked on the HMAT Star of England and arrived Alexandria 11 September 1915.  He joined the 1st Training Battalion in Zeitoun 21 October 1915, was promoted to Sergeant in March 1916 and rejoined his unit the 49th Battalion in Habeita 20 June 1916.

William Doyle Hobson was killed in  the field on the 16 August 1916. He was recommended for an award on the 15 August 1916.  He is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, Picardie, France.


HMAT Start of England A15 – photo courtesy Australian War Memorial


NAA B2455


NAA B2455


Australian War Memorial – Red Cross Wounded & Missing


NAA B2455 – letter from his sister


Online Resources

Queensland Birth Death & Marriage Index

Photograph of the: HMAT Star of England A15, Australian War Memorial

Photograph William Doyle Hobson, Discovering Anzacs

NAA: B2455, Hobson Willilam Doyle, National Archives of Australia

Australian War Memorial


Other Resources

The First Expeditionary Force: the Thursday Island Expedition: a collection of reference documents. Denis Bird, 2015 [CDFHS Library]


If you have a photograph or further information about this soldier you would like to share and add to his biography, please add a comment or the Society projects@cdfhs.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *