Private William Feening
4th Battalion, AIF
Service Number: 1351
Born: 1880, Rocky Ponds via Harden, NSW
Died: 15 April 1918, Ebblinghem, France
William Feening was born in 1880 at Rocky Ponds near Harden NSW, the son of John and Martha (nee Barker) Feening. William was educated at Narromine before the family moved to Kingswood in the late 1890s where his father worked on the railway. John Feening was a native of Holland and in February 1916 he was accused of being a German. In a letter to the editor of the Nepean Times, he stated ‘I have a son at the front and one in camp at Liverpool. I don’t think I need say more’. William was listed as a municipal employee on his enlistment
Feening enlisted on 16 November 1914 and was allocated to the 2nd Reinforcements, 4th Battalion. He sailed to Egypt aboard HMAT Seang Bee, which left Sydney on 11 February 1915. He was with his Battalion when it took part in the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915. In August 1915, the 4th Battalion led the charge at Lone Pine. On 3 September, Feening suffered concussion from a shell and later wrote ‘I got blown up and buried – had a very narrow squeak of being killed… I put in 21 weeks at Gallipoli’. He was admitted to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station. Two days later, he was transported to Imbros, a Greek Island used as a staging post for operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula, and was then transferred to a hospital in Malta and then on to King George Hospital at Stamford, England on 24 September 1915. He loved his time in London and even visited the King’s stables at Buckingham Palace. From London, he wrote a letter to his brother, which was published in the Nepean Times on 2 February 1916.
Feening left for the Western Front on 31 July 1916 and rejoined his Battalion at the Somme. On 6 November 1916, he received a gunshot wound to his left foot and was transferred to England for treatment. He was discharged and went on furlough in March 1917. On 29 April, Feening was transferred to the 62nd Battalion, then based at Windmill Hill Andover, as part of the AIF’s expansion to meet increasing commitments on the battlefield. In June, Feening fell ill and was hospitalised at the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, Fovant. He returned to his unit and on 1 October Feening proceeded overseas to join the 4th Battalion in the Ypres sector. By April 1918, the 4th Battalion was in the line trying to halt the German Spring Offensive and in the same month, Feening was found guilty of being drunk and was confined to barracks.
On 13 April 1918, Feening, a stretcher-bearer, suffered fatal wounds from a shell. According to a fellow soldier, a shell dropped in the trench at Strazeele, near Hazebrouk burying some of the men. Feening was severely wounded and taken to the 9th Field Ambulance before being transferred to Ebblinghem where he died two days later.
- Ebblinghem Military Cemetery, France
- Honor Roll, Victoria Park, St Marys
- National Archives of Australia B2455, Feening W
- Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing
- Australian War Memorial First World War Nominal Roll
- Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Penrith City Library Biography files