Thomas Kennedy Irwin (Senior)

Thomas Kennedy Irwin was born c. 1856/7, Antrim, Ireland to James Irwin and Ellen Thompson (nee). He was known as ‘Tom’ by his family and friends. In his youth he moved to Glasgow where he married Elizabeth McIntosh. Shortly afterwards, they immigrated to Australia aboard Bann and upon arriving in Australia, lived in the Bathurst district where Tom had some relatives. However, around c. 1890 he and Elizabeth moved to 1 “Boston Terrace” Campbell St. Wollongong.[1]

Thomas Kennedy Irwin, seated.

Thomas Kennedy Irwin, seated with his sons William McIntosh Irwin (left) and Charles Duff Irwin (right).

Tom Irwin enlisted on 9 January 1901 in the Boer War (1899-1902).[2] He embarked from Sydney to Western Transvaal, South Africa in February 1902 and was listed in Colonel P.L Murray’s book as ex. No 9 Gunner 1st Queensland Mounted Infantry B Company[3] as well as ex. No 876 1st Australian Commonwealth Horse[4]. Tom Irwin returned to Sydney, Australia in July 1902 following the end of the war. The unit officially disbanded on 19 August, 1902. Subsequently, he received the award: Queen’s South Africa Medal.

In the days of the Garrison Artillery at Wollongong, Irwin was a warrant officer and served with the regiment for many years.  He had been an expert in the treatment of animals and when the Veterinary Surgeon’s Act was passed, he registered as a Veterinary Surgeon.

Irwin family (left to right). William McIntosh Irwin, Thomas Kennedy Irwin Snr, Thomas Kennedy Irwin Jnr, Charles Duff Irwin.

Irwin family (left to right). William McIntosh Irwin, Thomas Kennedy Irwin Snr, Thomas Kennedy Irwin Jnr, Charles Duff Irwin.

Relatives have told Wollongong City Library that Banjo Paterson asked Tom to enlist to look after the horses. On 24 September 1915, Tom complied and enlisted; he registered as 50 years of age when in fact, he was much older. Relatives still have the whip which was given to him by Banjo Paterson.  He was accepted into the army and went to Egypt as part of a Remount section to look after the horses of the Light Horse Regiment whilst they were fighting in the trenches at Gallipoli.

IRWIN2

Thomas Kennedy Irwin Jnr and Snr.

Irwin was the oldest returned soldier at the age of 62. He was sent home after the men returned and could take care of the horses. He disembarked on 22 April 1916 aboard HMAT Seeang Bee and was assigned home defence duties until he was discharged on 17 June, 1916. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star Medal, Victory Medal and British War Medal. According to H.W (Herbert Wrigley)  Wilson in The Great War, Sir General John Maxwell was the Commander of troops in Egypt 1915. Thomas Kennedy Irwin Senior was attached to the first embarkment of men and equipment for Mena Camp in Egypt on 17 October, 1915. These operations were kept secret and lasted five days. The equipment included 9 000 horses, 70 large guns, 3 Infantry Brigades, 2 Light Horse Squadrons, 2 Field Artillery Brigades, Engineers and Signal Companies, Ammunitions and Field Ambulances. [5]

Thomas Kennedy Irwin Snr at Waratah March.

Thomas Kennedy Irwin Snr (marked) at Waratah March.

Tom and his wife had twelve children together although only nine survived. Many followed their father’s steps and enlisted in the First and Second World Wars.

He died on 9 May, 1930 at the age of 74. On the day of the funeral a gun carriage was taken up and down Kenny St. Thomas Kennedy Irwin is buried at Wollongong cemetery.

His obituary states that he was a man of very fine personality, straightforward and manly in all his dealings as well as a good friend. He was always ready to do a good deed, and was never known to have done anything dishonourable or dirty.[6]

Illawarra Mercury, 9 May 1930, p.10.

Illawarra Mercury, 9 May 1930, p.10.

NAA: B2455M IRWIN, THOMAS KENNEDY


[1] ‘Obituary,’ Illawarra Mercury, 16 May 1930, p.5.

[2] Australian War Memorial, Australia and the Boer War 1899-1902, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/boer/&gt; viewed 5 February 2014.

[3] Australian War Memorial, Boer War Nominal Roll – Thomas Irwin, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1446219/&gt; viewed 29 January 2014.

[4] Australian War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <http://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1439891/&gt; viewed 29 January 2014.

[5] Wilson, Herbert Wigley, The Great War: The Standard History of the all-Europe conflict vol. 5, Amalgamated Press, London, 1916.

[6] ‘Obituary,’ Illawarra Mercury, 16 May 1930, p.5.

David Cowie

David Cowie was born on 19 May 1895 to John and Jane Cowie. He worked as a Wheeler prior to the war and once he enlisted, he joined the 1st Battalion 16th reinforcements on 9 December 1915 according to the Australian War Memorial[1]. His records show that he was 20 years of age living at Russell St Balgownie and he was a Waratah.[2] David was not the only member of his family to enlist, his brother Alexander Cowie joined in 1916.

David Cowie

David Cowie

During his service, David was wounded in action three times. The third time (11 April 1917), he received gun-shot wounds to the arm and leg and subsequently returned to Australia on 10 September 1917. David was officially discharged from the AIF on 11 May 1918 and was awarded the British War and Victory medals due to his service.

David Cowie's discharge certificate.

David Cowie’s discharge certificate.

He married a woman by the name of Annie and worked at Dunlop Perdriau Rubber Company as a storeman and packer from 8 August 1918 to 7 February 1930. He became redundant due to a company merger and later with war service and wounds found work as a lift driver at a university building in Sydney. Lastly, he worked as a caretaker.

He is mentioned in the Illawarra Mercury in 1937 after his father’s death. It is stated that at the time he lived in Sydney at the time.[3]

 

 

 

 

NAA: B2455, COWIE D


 

[1] Australian War Memorial, Australian Imperial Force- Nominal Roll, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, < http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/items/ACCNUM_LARGE/RCDIG1067362/RCDIG1067362–169-.JPG&gt;, viewed 19 February 2014.

[2] Ibid.

[3] ‘Death of Mr. Cowie,’ Illawarra Mercury, 14 May 1937, p. 7.

Alice Jane Thompson

Alice Jane Thompson of Balgownie enlisted as a nurse at the age of 23. She subsequently embarked from Sydney aboard RMS Mooltan on 9 June, 1917.[1]

Alice Jane Thompson

Alice Jane Thompson

The following extracts come from the Illawarra Mercury after her departure:

Nurse. Thompson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs T. Thompson, Balgownie, is now en route for Salonika to take up duties in the military hospital there.[2]

Nurses at the front – Information received from Nurse A. Thompson shows that forty of the three hundred nurses who left Australia on the ill-fated Mooltan were selected to proceed to Salonika, she being one of them. She states that most of the cases so far are sickness owing to the terrible heat, which is bad at this time of the year. However, she is satisfied with her lot and says she is not sorry that she came and if she had to choose over again she would do the same, as too much cannot be done for the boys who are fighting and bleeding for us all.[3]

Records state that Nurse Thompson was kept in quarantine due to influenza. She married Dr Theo Allen in England, 16 January 1919 which resulted in her discharge from the AANS; they then returned to Australia.

Nurse Thompson1

Apart from receiving the British War and Victory medals, Alice Thompson was awarded a Greek Medal for Military Merit. [4]

A letter was written by her mother to the Base Records Office which states that, Alice Jane Thompson died on 6 June 1922 and was buried at Wollongong.

 

 

 

 

NAA: B2455, Thompson A J


[1] Australian War Memorial, First World War Embarkation Rolls – Alice Jane Thompson, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, < http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/nominal_rolls/first_world_war_embarkation/person/R1985185/&gt;, viewed 12 February 2014.

[2] ‘The Searchlight,’ Illawarra Mercury, 15 June 1917, p2.

[3] ‘District News – Balgownie,’ Illawarra Mercury, 26 October 1917 p5.

[4] Australian War Memorial, Honours and Awards – Alice Jane Thompson, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, < http://www.awm.gov.au/research/people/honours_and_awards/person/R1536305/?roll_type=Awards >, viewed 12 February 2014.

Honour Roll

We need you

To commemorate the centenary of World War 1, Wollongong City Libraries will develop an innovative online resource – Illawarra Remembers 1914-1918 – which will include information and photographs that tell the stories of the Illawarra’s brave men and women who went to war. We need your help.

There are a number of Honour Rolls and Memorials across the Illawarra which commemorate the men and women involved in the war. Below is a photograph of the Roll of Honour at Woonona Presbyterian Church [1] (NB. The rolls and memorials may have changed location since the time the photograph was taken).

P12775

Dapto Public School

Nurse M. WAKEFORD

H. ARMSTRONG
O.H BAILEY
A.C BAILEY
E.L BAILEY M.M
R. BALY
M. BLACKETT
W. BEACH
H.G BEACH
J. BOVARD
W. BROWN
A. BROWN
E. BROWN
H. BROWN
V. BROWN
J. BUCHANAN
E. BANFIELD
L. BANFIELD
A. BUCKLEY
R. BRYAN
C. BINGHAM
C. CHIE
D. CHIPPENDALL
H. CHIPPENDALL
E. CLIFFORD *
T. CLIFFORD
M. COLBERT
W. COLBERT
W. COLLINS
W. CARNEY
H. DILLON
T. DILLON
R. DARE
E. DARE
A. EDWARDS
H. EVANS
E. EVANS
J. FAIRLEY
R. FAIRLEY
C. GIBBS
H. GILLEN
P. HARVEY
T. HARNAN
T. HORDERN
R. HOLMES
J. KEVAN
S. LINDSAY
G. LINDSAY
I. LINDSAY
W.A LINDSAY
W. LITTLE
E. MARK
C. MARK
F. MANT
J. MARSHALL
G. MURPHY
J. MULLIGAN
E. McKINNON
W. OYSTON
G. PETERSEN
D. PARKER
A. POLSON
J. STEVENS *
A. STEVENS
R. SHELLEY
J. SHAW
W. SHERMAN
A. SHERMAN
A. SKEATS
F. STEVENSON
R. STEVENSON
P. TIBBLES
H. TOMKINS
J. REEN

 

 

 

If anyone has any information about the names on this Honour Roll (or any other), please let us know either through the contact page, in person at Wollongong Reference Library or by calling the Reference Library on (02) 4227 7414.


[1] Compiled by Illawarra Family History Group Inc, Illawarra Remembers: War Memorials of the Illawarra, Printed by University of Wollongong Printery, Wollongong NSW, August 1995.

Richard Houghton

Richard Houghton was born in Durham, England, in November 1893 to Andrew and Mary Lizzie. When he and his family moved to Australia (1913), resided at Gray Street, Keiraville.

He was worked as a blacksmith before the war but ultimately enlisted as did his younger brother, William.

Richard Houghton - service photograph.

Richard Houghton – service photograph.

Family have shared the typed out reminisces of Richard, typed up by his brother, William Houghton. It also includes hand drawn maps depicting the lines and tactics.

HOUGH_K-07.1

HOUGH_K-07.4

Richard served in the 31st Infantry Battalion, 8 Brigade, 5 Division which was commonly referred to as:

The 31st Battalion was known to the rest of the Aussie Army as Tivvy’s chocs, the reason being that General Tivvy, as a colonel, had been the battalion commander right through until the formation of the new units in Egypt,  when he was promoted Brigadier General in charge of the either Brigade.

And so the battalion was the only one in the Australian army to have a nickname, and they were proud of it.

The brigade was explained as:

The 8th Brigade, consisting of the 29th, 30th, 31st and 32nd battalions, which formed the left flank of the attack had, while waiting in the front line, suffered more severely than the rest of the Australian troops. The reason for this was partly that it lay on the flank, and partly that its front line, running closer to the enemy than that of the other sectors not only received special attention from him, but also caught a number of shells from its own guns intended for the enemy’s wire…

…Several hundred yards farther still could be seen barbed wire entanglements – probably those protecting a German strong-point, known as “Grashof”, then in course of construction. Toll knew that this could not possibly be the “Support Line” referred to in the operation orders, and it appeared to be a strong position. Small parties of the 14th Brigade could be seen away on the right, and Toll tried to communicate with them, and Bernard went out to obtain toich and was immediately shot, – Toll then returned and found that Major Eckersley’s line was still out of touch with any troops on either flank. The sun was setting and from Delangre farm and the houses of Les Clochers village beyond there came this chatter of machine-guns. The enemy’s guns had found and were effectively shelling the unprotected troops, who were also caught by occasional shells from their own guns. The men were consequently under no small strain, and German reinforcements could be seen moving from the year to Delangre farm…

Richard was fighting in Fromelles when he was reported missing in action on July 19, 1916 and was reported wounded in action on July 20, 1916. He was admitted to hospital on July 21 and subsequently died of his wounds in Bevan Military Hospital, Sandgate, England on August 5, 1916. He was 22 years of age.

Richard Houghton is buried at Hatton Lane Cemetery, England; a photo of his grave has been shared below. He is commemorated at Australian War Memorial, panel 118 at the Commemorative area and well as Keiraville Public School’s Roll of Honour.

HOUGH_K-05.1

NAA: B2455, HOUGHTON R 2340

Agnes Alexina McRae Jolly

Agnes Alexina McRae Jolly was 31 years of age and head nurse at Bulli Hospital when she enlisted on 16 June, 1915. She joined the 1st Australian General Hospital and the Illawarra Mercury subsequently printed an article:

Nurse for the front- Sister Jolly, of the nursing staff of the Bulli Hospital, left on Tuesday to go as a nurse to the front. During her residence here she made many friends, and her nursing abilities were highly spoken of.[1]

The NAA records state that she partook in training for three years at the Coast-Hospital, Sydney and held medical and surgical nursing certificates.

Nurse Jolly fell susceptible to illness quite often, particularly on ships due to the rapid spread of disease; she was even given three months leave due to paratyphoid.

She was discharged on 14 June, 1918 and returned to Australia 6 August, 1918 and was subsequently awarded with the Star, British War and Victory medals for her service.

Nurse Jolly died on 20 July, 1952. Her address at the time was Snails Bay NSW; this is a modern suburb name for the house where her parents lived, therefore, it is possible she was living at her parents’ house at the time of her death.

NAA: B2455, JOLLY AGNES ALEXINA MCRAE


[1] ‘Bulli-Woonona,’ Illawarra Mercury, 11 June 1915, p.2.