Secretary of the Mt Evelyn RSL, Anthony McAleer, shares the story of William Ludwig Aicher, who was Killed in Action at Gallipoli.
William Ludwig Aicher was born in Carlton. His father, Wilhelm Aicher, had been born in Stuttgart, Germany and had arrived in Australia in 1881 on board the ship RMS Lusitania – the ship that later became famous during WWI when it was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat. Lusitania was sunk on 7 May 1915, a day before William Aicher was killed in action at Gallipoli.
William grew up in West Melbourne and Brunswick and was the eldest of four children. In 1910 he went to work on the O’Shannassy Water Supply Scheme as a metal spinner and as a result he took up residence in Mt Evelyn for 3 years while he worked on the scheme. On 17 August 1914 William Aicher enlisted in the AIF, the first resident of Mt Evelyn to do so. He was sent to Broadmeadows for basic training and was appointed to the Signal section the 6th Battalion. He left Melbourne with the first convoy on the HMAT Hororata. On 25 April 1915, William landed under fire at the beach at Anzac Cove with the 6th Battalion in the second wave. They charged up the cliffs and valleys and dug in. Then on 5 May 1915, the 6th Battalion was transferred to Cape Helles to help in the attack on the village of Krithia. Attacking in the late afternoon, the troops charged across open ground into a hail of machine-gun and rifle fire. William was one of those killed in action on that day.
William Ludwig Aicher is listed on the Mt Evelyn War Memorial and the RSL held a ceremony to mark the centenary of his death in action this year.