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William Joseph Rowett was born in Ballarat, Victoria, was single and a Miner when he enlisted in the 8th Battalion, 14th Reinforcement on 6 October 1915 at the age of 19. His unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 28 January 1916. He reported to the hospital as sick with a 'septic condition on the back' on 4 February 1917 and later re-joined his unit on 11 February. He returned to hospital as sick again on 23 February 1917 and remained until 13 March whereupon he was able to re-join his unit. However, his condition would see his transfer to hospital on several occasions before his return to Australia on 15 May 1919,
Tree No. 1737