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William Bolton was 52 years old, married, and employed as a State Government civil servant. He was born in Cheshire, UK, and lived at 52 Webster Street, Ballarat. Just prior to the outbreak of war he was ordered to mobilise the 70th [Ballarat] Infantry and move it to Queenscliff to protect the Queenscliff Fort against enemy attack. While in location defending the fort the opening shot of the war was fired when a German freighter Pfalz tried to escape through the Heads. The battalion arrived in Queenscliff by train on 7th August, and took up its position. It was joined by 46th [Brighton] Infantry.
Lt Colonel Bolton developed an agonising medical condition on Gallipoli , and wrote to the Brigadier asking to be relieved of command until he had recovered. This was granted, and he was replaced on 14th May 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel Charles Brand. The subsequent medical report indicated that he should be repatriated to Australia and discharged as medically unfit, for his ailment obviously became worse under the stresses of wartime command. Tree No. 1, an elm, was planted by Sir Alexander Peacock, Premier of Victoria, on 4th June 1817.