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Born in Ballarat, Victoria and a coach builder by trade, William Emerson Bowes was 20 years and single when enlisted on the 30th of March 1916 in the 39th Battalion, D Company, Australian Imperial Force, with the rank of Private, Number 1210. His Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A11 'Ascanius' on the 27th of May 1916. On the 22nd of July 1917 admitted to hospital sick; on the 2nd of October1917 wounded in action; on the 16th of January 1918 rejoined Unit ex wounds in France; on the 13th of July 1918 Invalided to UK Gunshot wounds left arm; on the 24th of July 1918 transferred to 3rd Auxilliary Hospital Gunshot wounds left arm; on the 5thJuly 1918 wounded in action 2nd occasion. On the 13th of July 1918 invalided to UK Gunshot wound left arm and was listed as returned to Australia on the 4th of January 1919. Discharged from the 3rd Military District Military Unit ex 'Morvada' on the 30th of March 1919 as medically unfit. Tree No. 2305