William Higgins was a 34 year old married labourer when he enlisted in 1915. His slightly deficient teeth did not prove to be a barrier to him being passed fit for service. Little is known about the early life of William Higgins except that recorded on his attestation papers.
Private William Higgins was initially allotted to the 26th Battalion, leaving here on the Ballarat on 9 September 1915. Following a charge of being drunk and creating a disturbance in camp at Mudros on 27 November 1915 he was fined 2/6 and confined to barracks for 7 days. Shortly after this incident he was transferred to the Camel Corps.
For some the Camel Corps is seen as the unit where all the misfits and trouble makers were sent. There, so the story goes, they would meet there match in the form of camels who were notoriously difficult to handle. It maybe that this reputation was ill-deserved.
By January 1917, Private William Higgins had contracted malaria and several periods of hospitalisation followed. He was court martialled again in July 1918 and around the same time with the reorganisation of the mounted troops was transferred to the Light Horse Details whilst still in detention.
On 9 September 1918, he appeared before a medical board at Moascar where it was decided that he should be returned to Australia due in part to the fact that he had synovitis of his left knee which he had apparently contracted following an accident on Walker’s Ridge at Gallipoli in November 1915. Private Higgins returned to Tasmanian and was discharged on 14 April 1919.
According to voting records, in 1922 William and his wife Annie were living at Nieka where he was working as a farmer. While we will possibly never know the exact details surrounding the death of William Higgins, safe to say that in an era before we had vaccinations against conditions such as tetanus, a cut from a rusty nail or piece of wire could be fatal. William Higgins died at the Hobart Public Hospital on 4 December 1922 from tetanus, aged 40 years.