21/06/1915- Completed Application for Enlistment & Preliminary Medical Examination at Kalgoorlie WA
18/08/1915- Allocated to 8th Reinforcements 11th Battalion Blackboy Hill WA as Private
02/09/1915- Embarked Fremantle WA aboard ” Anchises ” bound for Egypt
25/09/1915- Disembarked Alexandria Egypt ex Australia to Overseas Training Base
16/10/1915- Admitted No. 2 Australian Aux Hospital Heliopolis Egypt ( Synovitis )
23/10/1915- Discharged to Duty Heliopolis
28/10/1915-  To Aux Hospital Ludd Heliopolis
09/11/1915- Discharged to Duty Heliopolis ex Hospital
13/11/1915- Embarked Alexandria with Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces bound for Lemnos
04/12/1915- Posted to ” C ” Company 11th Battalion at A&NZ Base Depot Lemnos
07/01/1916- Admitted 15th General Hospital Alexandria ( Influenza ) ex Tel-el-Kebir ex 1st Field Ambulance
17/01/1916- To Convalescent Depot Ras-el-Tin ex Hospital
03/02/1916- Discharged to Duty Ghezireh Egypt
03/03/1916- Rejoined 11th Battalion in the field Habieta Egypt
29/03/1916- Embarked Alexandria with British Expeditionary Forces bound for Marseilles France
05/04/1916- Disembarked Marseilles France ex Egypt
06/07/1916- Admitted Hospital France ( Knee Injury)
10/07/1916- Evacuated/Admitted Northumberland War Hospital England ex ” Antwerpen ” from France ( Dislocated Cartilage Left Knee- Synovitis )
12/08/1916- Transferred to No1 Aux Convalescent Hospital Harefield England
10/09/1916- Proceeded Overseas to 1st Australian Division Base Depot Etaples France ex 3rd Training Battalion at No. 6 Camp Perham Downs England
01/10/1916- Rejoined Battalion in the field France ex Base Depot ex Hospital
10/11/1916- Admitted 12th General Hospital Rouen France ( Sprained Foot ) ex 2nd Australian Field Ambulance
27/11/1916- Evacuated/Admitted Voluntary Aid Depot Exeter England ex Rouen France
02/01/1917- To No. 2 Command Depot Weymouth England
27/01/1917- To Infantry Draft Depot England ex Weymouth
08/02/1917- Proceeded Overseas 1st Australian Division Base Depot Etaples France ex Folkestone England
24/02/1917- Rejoined Battalion in the field France ex Base Depot
16/04/1917- Reported Missing in Action France
23/07/1917- Reported to have been captured and taken as a Prisoner of War at Boursies France on 15/04/1917 and held at Limburg Camp Germany
20/12/1918- Repatriated Prisoner of War arrived at Dover England
21/01/1919- To No. 2 Command Depot Weymouth England ex Leave
12/02/1919- To No. 1 Command Depot Sutton Veny England for Return to Australia
03/03/1919- Embarked Portland England aboard ” Euripides ” bound for Australia
21/04/1919- Disembarked Fremantle WA ex England
13/06/1919- Discharged from Service ( Termination of Period of Enlistment ).

SERVICE MEDALS AWARDED

1914/1915 Star – Medal No. 1621

British War Medal – No. 4596

Victory Medal – No. 4588.

 

O’BRIEN, Pte. John Joseph- 2650- 11th Battalion AIF

John O’BRIEN was born at Homewood, near Yea, Victoria in 1884.
John and his older sister, Mary, travelled to Western Australia in the early 1900’s, their parents having died prior to 1895. Their move to W.A was more than likely connected to the attraction of the Gold Rush at the time.

John married Sarah BRENNAN at Cottesloe, WA in 1906, where they lived and started a family. In the following years, the family moved to Kellerberrin, Muja near Collie and Kalgoorlie, chasing work opportunities.  On 23 June, 1915, whilst residing in Kalgoorlie, John enlisted for service in the First World War. Sarah and their 4 children shifted to live with her married sister and husband ( the BOASE Family ) in Cottesloe.

John served with the 11th Battalion in Egypt before transfer to the Western Front in France.  In April, 1917, during the Battle of Lagnicourt, John and the remaining men of his Battalion, were surrounded and captured at Louverval, near Cambria. They were taken as Prisoners of War to a Camp at Limburg, Germany, where they were interred with more than 12,000 men.

Eventual repatriation to England in 1919, must have been a huge relief for John and his family, particularly after surviving the hostilities of war and the deprivations suffered as a Prisoner of War.  He was safely returned to W.A. and took up the offer of a Soldier Settlement Block of land at Benger,  in 1919.

Tragically, on 18 May, 1920 , John was killed, when hit by a train between Wokalup and Harvey. He was only 36 years of age and left wife Sarah, with 5 children, Kathleen 11 years, John 10 years, Gladys 7 years, Doris 5 years and Joan who was only 2 months old. ( Another son, Ernest, had sadly died from Measles/Pneumonia at 3 years of age , on 5  November 1915, at Cottesloe. John was in hospital at Heliopolis, Egypt at the time, being treated for a knee injury ).

A Coroner’s Inquest was held at Yarloop, concluding that John had died, due to misadventure. He was laid to rest in the Old Harvey Cemetery on 19 May, 1920, in Section 21, Grave No.18.

Due to the sterling efforts of descendant, Carol CAMERON,  John O’BRIEN is now rightly honoured with an official Commonwealth War Grave.  This distinction is a source of pride for the entire family, as John had previously remained unacknowledged in an unmarked grave for more than 100 years.

 

Reference :  Carol CAMERON.

 

 

 

AUTHORS NOTES

( 1 ) – Image has John Joseph O’BRIEN ( with Moustache ) at right , whilst soldier on left is believed to be Reginald James CAMDEN ( S/N 1112 ) also from the 11th Battalion. Both men were captured simultaneously and taken to Limburg Camp, Germany.  They also took up their options under the Soldier Settlement scheme after the war and were granted rural land in the Benger, WA district.

( 2 )- Australian Red Cross Society  Wounded and Missing File states that O’BRIEN was transferred to Friedrichsfeld E.K. 11 Prisoner of War Camp. A Post Card was received at Red Cross Headquarters London on 11/12/1917, believed to have been written by O’BRIEN, dated 04/11/1917.