William (Bob) Lewis Higgins
William was at the Gallipoli landing on 25 April 1915. He received a ‘slight’ bullet wound to the head during his time on the Peninsula and hospitalised several times with illness. He was transferred to France in May 1916 and promoted to Lance Corporal later that year. In May 1917, he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery and dash when he led his Lewis gun team across a heavily machine-gunned flat at Boursies to repulse a counter attack. He was promoted to Corporal and then spent some time in England at the Hayling School of Instruction before returning to the front line in Belgium and France.
William returned to Ross with his English bride, Martha Pounder, and in 1929 they had a daughter, Margaret. William worked in the district including as rabbit inspector and poundkeeper for the Ross Council.
William died in 1964 and is buried in Ross.
Leslie James (Les) Higgins
Leslie followed the example of his younger brother, William, enlisting in the 26th Battalion in February 1915. He was 29 and working on wool properties in the district. the brothers’ father, William, lived in Badajos Street.
Leslie arrived on the Gallipoli peninsula in September 1915 and, following the evacuation, was shipped to France in March 1916. Leslie was mentioned for ‘good and gallant conduct’ in connection with hard fighting around Pozieres in August 1916.
In November, he was killed in action while attacking the Maze trenches near Flers. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneaux Memorial. Newspaper reports described him as a ‘fine type of our Australian soldier, being of splendid built and a very manly character’.
William and Les’ stories are part of our exhibition: Our Grateful Thanks and Loving Remembrance, a moving and deeply personal exhibition remembering the soldiers whose names are immortalised on the Ross War Memorial.