William James TIGHE #57648

William James Tighe

Indigenous Australian, William TIGHE, 4th Reinforcements Queensland, 1918

William Tighe was born to Albert Tighe and Joanna Leane, in 1888. When William volunteered to serve with the first AIF in January 1918 he was already married with five children, his wife was Ida ‘Millie’ Beatrice Conroy.

Passed medically fit, he trained at Rifle Range Camp, Enoggera Barracks, just outside Brisbane and departed from Sydney with the 4th Reinforcements Queensland, bound for England in June 1918, aboard HMAT Orontes.

Not long after arriving in Liverpool William was taken ill with Influenza and admitted to hospital at Hurdcott, where he remained for several weeks before being discharged to the Convalescent Depot at Weymouth Camp.

William Tighe had great difficulties adjusting to life in the military, being so far away from home and country. He also suffered from chronic rheumatism and ‘neurosis’. When the medical authorities reviewed his case it was decided that William should return home to Australia.

William embarked from England in December 1918 and on arrival was discharged medically unfit. He returned to his family in Ipswich but sadly died in 1923,  just 35 years old. He left behind his wife ‘Millie’ and seven surviving children, Louisa, Ida, Doris, Arthur, Stella, Charles and Keith.

In 1926 his wife ‘Millie’ Tighe published a poem in remembrance of his passing in the Queensland Times

“Some may think I have forgotten, When at times they see me smile; But if they only knew the broken heart, That smile hides all the while”

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Marg Powell & Des Crump | QANZAC100, State Library of Queensland