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William Madden was born in Sebastapol and lived with his parents at Victoria Street, Sebastapol . On enlistment he was 24 years old, single and employed as a labourer. He had spent 2 years as a Senior Cadet, and was accepted into the 8th Infantry Battalion, with Regimental No. 122. 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.
Private Madden, as a member of the 8th Battalion, took part in the Landing at Anzac Cove in the second wave ashore on 25th April 1915. Private Madden suffered a gun shot wound to his foot on 8th May 1915, and although it was dressed each day it wasn't until 12th May that he was admitted to 1st Australian General Hospital at Cairo, Egypt. On 23rd June 1915 he was sent to the Convalescent Hospital at Mudros, on the island of Lemnos, Greece. Tree No. 22, an elm, was planted by Miss Ethel James, a æLucas Girl', in the Ballarat Avenue of Honour, on 4th June 1917.