William Borland AM

b. 08/12/1866 Braidwood, NSW, Australia.  d. 27/02/1941 Bulli, Australia.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 03/04/1891 Middle Head, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

William Borland AM

Borland was born in Braidwood, NSW, and on leaving school, he became a Sapper in the partially paid Submarine Miners. The partially paid Submarine Miners were originally part of the Torpedo and Signalling Corps which was raised in 1873 as a special company of the New South Wales Naval Brigade. They were transferred to the military branch in 1878. The permanent section of the Submarine Miners was established in 1888. In 1893 following reorganisation of the Corps of Engineers, both partially paid and permanent sections were incorporated into the Engineers, with the whole styled as the New South Wales Corps of Engineers. The Miners comprised No.4 Company based at Chowder Bay and George’s Heights.

Borland recovered from his wounds, and married Agnes Craig in Sydney in 1892. On the outbreak of World War I, he decided to enlist in the Australian Service Corps, at the age of 44, giving his occupation as a Railway Guard. He served at Gallipoli, before a road accident on 27th July 1917 saw him discharged from service.



On the 3rd April, 1891, a boat, containing twelve men and two officers, was engaged in submarine mining operations, about half a mile from the shore at Middle Head, Sydney, N.S.W. By the accidental explosion of a lOOlb. gun-cotton mine, the after part of the boat was blown to pieces, and the two officers and two of the men were instantly killed, while the others were all more or less severely injured. SAPPER WILLIAM BORLAND, finding the boat sinking, jumped overboard in order to lighten her, and, whilst holding on to the gunwale, supported Sapper Brentnall, who was semi – conscious. Another of the crew, named Adams, in the excitement of the moment, jumped overboard, but when some yards away, called out for help, as he was unable to swim. BORLAND at once swam to his assistance, and supported him until a boat arrived from the shore some considerable time after. BORLAND was nearest to the explosion of any of the crew, and received severe wounds on the face, arms, abdomen, and legs, besides injuries to both ears. He was in hospital several weeks, and could not follow his ordinary work for some months.