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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Identity Disc: Private William McLaughlan, 46 Battalion, AIF

ID Number    PERS003

Title                Identity Disc: Private William McLaughlan, 46 Battalion, AIF

Maker             Unknown

Object Type  
Personal Equipment

Place made     Unknown

Date made      c 1916-1917

Physical          Compressed Fibre

Circular identity disc made from compressed fibre with a hole through which is threaded a leather necklace. It is impressed on the obverse with ‘3075 Mc.LAUGHLAN. W. 46. BATT. A.I.F. C.E.’

William McLaughlan was a 21 year old boot finisher from North Fitzroy, Victoria when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 15 July 1915. He was 5 ft 2 and a half inches tall and had previously been denied enlistment due to his height. 3075 Private McLaughlan embarked for overseas on board HMAT A17 Port Lincoln on 18 October 1915 with the 10 Reinforcements of 14 Battalion. He joined his battalion on 19 January 1916, at Ismailia, Egypt. He was transferred to the 46 Battalion on 3 March 1916. Along with the 46 Battalion, he arrived in France on 8 June 1916.

Private McLaughlan was admitted to hospital sick on 15 November 1916 and was then sent to the 21 Casualty Clearing Station suffering with trench foot a day later. After rejoining his unit, he was again sent to hospital, this time suffering influenza 17 January 1917. He returned to his unit on 3 February 1917. He was sent to hospital once more on 25 March 1917 and rejoined his battalion on 14 April 1917. Between the 5 and 10 June 1917 he was detached for duty at 12 Brigade H.Q.

On 4 September 1917 a Field General Court Martial sentenced Private McLaughlan to 10 years 28 days penal servitude for desertion, having been absent from his unit from 7 August to 16 August 1917, when he surrendered to M.Ps. His sentence was commuted to 2 years on 4 October 1917. After almost a year in prison, on 13 September 1918, the unexpired portion of his sentence was suspended and he was discharged to duty. He rejoined his unit on 17 September 1918. On 26 February 1919 the remainder of his sentence was remitted. He returned to Australia on 2 June 1919. He was discharged from the AIF on 10 September 1919.

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