My Great Uncle Hugh O'Brien of 9th Battalion Australian Imperial Force was killed in action 23 July 1916. He is remembered with honour on the Villers Bretonneux Memorial in France.
His WW1 file is available on the National Archives of Australia website.
Hugh arrived in Brisbane, Australia from Ireland in January 1912 with his sister Bridget. He then nominated his father Hugh, brother Richard and sisters Ellen & Maria who arrived in Brisbane, Australia in December 1913. At the time Hugh was working for the Woodford & Kilcoy Railway.
Hugh enlisted 7 October 1915. He embarked from Brisbane on the HMAT Kyarra on 3 January 1916. Passing through Colombo, Alexandria & Marseilles he joined the 9th Battalion in France in May 1916. He was killed within 2 months. From the 3rd Brigade Diary available on the Australian War Memorial website we learn a total of 15 officers and 348 other ranks from the 9th Battalion were killed, wounded or missing between 19 July and 26 July 1916 in fighting near Pozieres.
Following Hugh's death his father Hugh & his sister Maria (my grandmother) received a pension. I understand he had been supporting them prior to his death.
Hugh's Victory Medal was received by his brother John O'Brien in 1923. With the death of my great grandfather Hugh O'Brien in 1922 the medal needed to be claimed by Hugh's eldest brother John who was residing in the USA even though there were 3 sisters and a brother in Australia at that time.
Fernie, or Harriet Esther Fearn FLETCHER (nee JACKSON) 1903-1985 was my grandmother Maria O'BRIEN's first cousin. Maria arrived in Brisbane from Tipperary, Ireland in 1913 with her father Hugh, brother Richard and sister Ellen. I understand they stayed with Hugh's sister Mrs JACKSON & family at Spring Hill.
I was not sure when I first heard it what Fernie might be short for. But it didn't really matter as when browsing the Toowong Cemetery monumental inscriptions in my local library I found
Beatrice JACKSON d 8 March 1914 aged 21, erected by Mother, Willie, May & Fernie
I obtained the death certificate for Beatrice (registered as Britto) & knew once I saw the mother was Mary O'BRIEN that I was on track & this has been further confirmed with
marriage certificate of Mary O'BRIEN and John Thomas JACKSON at Roma, Queensland in 1882 showing Mary's parents as Michael O'BRIEN & Bridget Mackay ( surely the same as the way the Irish say MULCAHY)
more recent release by Queensland Archives of the index to persons nominated as immigrants naming Mary's son-in-law John James MCKEW as nominator for Maria's brother Hugh & sister Bridget who arrived in Brisbane in1912
It looks like Fernie's name (FEARN) is the maiden name of her father, John Thomas JACKSON's mother Annie Fern. It seems that Fernie had some other cousins on her father's side who also used Fern or Fearn as a middle name including
Annie Easter Fern Jackson who married Thomas Patterson in 1908; and
Harriett Esther Ann Fearn Jackson who married William Farrell in 1905 in Queensland.
Fernie became a dancing teacher and I have found several articles about her - she seems to be often mentioned in the social and advertising pages. It is her bridal picture in The Queenslander on 13 June 1935 that is the most impressive:
Fletcher- Jackson The wedding took place at St. Brigid's Church, Red Hill, Brisbane, of Mr. Percival Fletcher (youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Fletcher. Lerin. Kelvin Grove) and Miss Fearn Jackson(youngest daughter of the late Mr. T. Jackson, and Mrs. Jackson, of Menzies Street, Petrie Terrace), The Rev. Father Masterson officiated. The bride, who was given away by her brother (Mr. W. Jackson), wore a frock of ivory satin cut on classical lines, featuring a cowl neckline, and long sleeves cut to give the cowl effect on the upper arm. Her skirt, which showed side panels of diagonal tucking, finished in a long train, the centre panel of which was studded with flesh coloured seed pearls. Her hand-embroidered veil was worn with a coronet of orange blossoms, and she carried a bouquet of roses. She was attended by two bridesmaids —Misses Tib Fletcher (sister of the bridegroom) and Beatty McKew (niece of the bride), who were attired in pink mariette tightly-fitting dresses inlet with frilled godets, with hat to tone, and carried bouquets of pink roses. Frances Ubank (flower girl), was dressed in pink organdie, and carried a basket of pink roses. The duties of best man were performed by Mr. Syd. Fletcher, and Mr. Jack McCarthy was groomsman. Mrs.Jackson (mother of the bride) wore a frock of black marocain with hat to match, and carried a posy of carnations. Mrs. Fletcher (mother of the bridegroom) wore a black crepe de Chine dress with hat to tone, and carried a bouquet of red roses. On leaving for the honey moon the bride wore an ensemble of brown crepe de Chine, with hat with shoes to match.