Friday, September 19, 2014

Richard O'Brien enlisted 19 September 1914

My Great or grand uncle Richard O'Brien enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 19 September 1914. Richard had been in Australia less than one year having arrived with his father and 2 of his sisters from Tipperary, Ireland in December 1913.  Richard was aged 21 years 1 month when he enlisted in Bundaberg, Queensland.  Looking at the mapping your anzacs website he was one of 761 people who enlisted in Bundaberg over the course of WW1.

He was appointed to the 15th Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade, AIF.   Richard was initially based at Enogerra army camp in Brisbane (source:war diary) with the following article on Trove from the Brisbane Courier 7 November 1914 describing one day (The distance from the current Enogerra barracks to Sandgate is 18.6km)  

The 15th Infantry Battalion of the Expeditionary Force and the 9th Battalion of Infantry Reinforcements, which marched to Sandgate from the Concen- tration Camp at Enoggera on Thursday,stayed the night at Sandgate. Yesterday the reville sounded early, and by 6.30 the troops were on the march through the main streets of Sandgate, giving the residents and others an opportunity of witnessing the fine stamp of men of which the battalions are made up. Subsequently the men indulged in recreation in which swimming played not the least important part. At 11 o'clock camp was struck and the soldiers commenced their march back to the Enoggera Encampment. It was a very hot, dusty and trying march but the infantry were in fine fettle and arrived back at Enogerra between 4 and 5 pm.

According to the embarkation roll on Australian War Memorial website he was one of 1029 from the 15 Infantry Battalion (December 1914) who embarked from Melbourne on 22 December 1914 on ship A40 HMAT Ceramic.   According to the war diary available on the Australian war memorial website the ship embarked from Port Melbourne at 3:30pm.

So Richard along with the rest of the 15th Infantry battalion (Queenslanders) had travelled to Broadmeadows, Melbourne by train arriving 26 November 1914 (source:war diary) to form part of the second Expeditionary Force with The Argus 1 December 1914 reporting:


At Broadmeadows the training of Colonel Monash's 4th Infantry Brigade commenced in earnest yesterday. The 14th Battalion was sent to Williamstown during the morning to learn the practical side of musketry, while the 13th, 15th, and 16th Battalions carried out exercises in the immediate neighbourhood of the camp, finishing up with short protected marches. The brigade staff is now under canvas, and a step nearer to active service conditions has been reached.

The brigade is complete, except that a company and a few other details from Western Australia have still to report them- selves. The men in camp are reported to be showing marked keenness for their work, and the brigade major (Lieut Colonel McGlinn) refers to them as "a very fine body altogether "

And this from the Port Fairy Gazette 3 December 1914 Melbourne notes
City folk have had plenty of opportunities of viewing troops on the march and the fine 
complement of motor waggons which are at present grouped in the Domain on the St. Kilda 
road. The various contingents from other States have been arriving in Melbourne during 
the past week, and it is expected that the second expeditionary force will soon be on the sea.
 The work of fitting up the different transport ships is being pushed forward day and night, which
is evidence that an early start is expected. Amongst the transports are two of the 
largest steamers trading to these ports-the Ceramic (18,500) and the Ulysess (15,000). The 
captured German vessels are also being used as transports.

The Argus 18 December 1914 reported on the inspiring spectacle of the 4th Infantry Brigade marching through the city.

While back in Queensland the Brisbane Courier 17 December 1914 reports on Stanley Prince Evans who is listed on the same embarkation roll.
Private Stanley P. Evans, of Coorparoo, who is at present with the 15th Infantry (Queenslanders), at Melbourne, on his way to the front, was yesterday presented through his father, Mr. W. Evans, of Greenslopes, Coorparoo, with a pair of military brushes (engraved), in holster, as a small token of esteem from the residents of Coorparoo. This is the eleventh Coorparoo member of the Expeditionary Force, and each has received a presentation from the residents.

I will explore Richard's war service further another time.

For anyone searching for William Howden (service number 4735) you will find 
some pages from his file are included in Richard O'Brien's file.

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