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William Eyckens was born in Beaufort but enlisted in Ballarat on 17th August 1914. He was 20 years old, single, and working as a horse breaker. He was posted to the 8th Infantry Battalion with Regimental No. 120. The 8th Battalion was among the first Infantry units raised for the AIF in the First World War. Like the 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions it was recruited in Victoria, and together with those battalions, formed the 2nd Brigade. Ten days after the Landing the 8th Battalion, as part of the 2nd Brigade, was moved from Anzac to Cape Helles to help in the attack on the village of Krithia. The attack captured a little of the ground, but cost the 2nd Brigade almost a third of its strength in killed and wounded.
On the 28th of October 1915 Private Eyckens was promoted Driver and was transferred from B Company to the Battalion Transport Section. He was posted back to Egypt, and joined the Transport Section which was working with the Divisional Supply Train. Tree No. 21, an elm, was planted by Miss B. Dyer, a 'Lucas Girl' , on 4th June, 1917.