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.



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.


NAA: B2455, HOUGHTON R 2340

James Dobing

James Dobing was born to Christopher and Elizabeth and raised in Keiraville. He attended Keiraville Public and lived with his parents at Parson St, Zlotkowski via Wollongong.

He was a wheeler prior to enlistment.

James Dobing

James Dobing

James enlisted on 19 January, 1916. He enlisted with and joined the same battalion as Matthew Tubman: 36th Battalion, Infantry. They were both embarked on 5 July, 1916 from Sydney upon HMAT Ajana 31.[1] James, along with Matthew was subsequently killed in action on 22 January 1917.[2]

According to the Australian War Memorial, James was only 24 at his death.  He is buried at the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery.

An obituary was subsequently posted in the Illawarra Mercury:

DOBING-IM 9 FEB 1917 P2[3]

Memorial Service- A largely attended and impressive service was conducted in the Keiraville Methodist Church on Sunday afternoon in connection with the death of Privates Mat Tubman and James Dobing. The Honour Roll, on which the names of the two heroes are inscribed, was draped in black. The Rev. F. Duesbury’s remarks were appropriate to the occasion and special hymns were rendered by the choir. The member of the Glen Wollongong Druid’s Lodge, of which Private Tubman was assistant secretary, were present in regalia.[4]

[1] Australian War Memorial, First World War Embarkation Rolls – James Dobing, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <;, viewed 29 January 2014.

[2] Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour – James Dobing, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2014, <;, viewed 29 January 2014.

[3] ‘Roll of Honor,’ Illawarra Mercury, 9 February 1917, p. 2.

[4] ‘Keiraville,’ Illawarra Mercury, 23 February 1917, p. 2.


Matthew Tubman

Matthew Tubman was born in 1898 to William and Ruth Tubman. They lived at “Alma” Gray St, Keiraville. Matthew’s records on the Australian War Memorial Honour Roll state that he attended Wollongong High school and worked as a clerk. He trained in music and typewriting and was the secretary of the Methodist Christian Endeavour Society and well as the Australian Secretary of the Glen Lodge of Druids, Wollongong. [1] Contrary to the AWM Honour Roll, the AWM Embarkation Roll as well as descending family who have shared information with Wollongong City Libraries, state that he was a miner by profession.

Subsequent to his enlistment, he joined the 36th Battalion Infantry and embarked on HMAT Ajana A31.[2]

He was in killed in action on January 22, 1917 at the age of 19. His grave is located at the Western Front, Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery.

Grave of Matthew Tubman.

Grave of Matthew Tubman.

[1] AWM, Roll of Honour Particulars – Matthew Tubman, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2013, <–79-.PDF&gt; viewed 8 January 2014.

[2] AWM, Embarkation Rolls – Matthew Tubman, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2013, <–252-.JPG&gt; viewed 8 January 2014.

Edmund Patrick Gallagher

Edmund Patrick Gallagher was born to Patrick and Mary Ann Gallagher. As a local resident of Keiraville, Edmund enlisted at Wollongong (07/06/1916) at the age of 21.

He was a member of the NSW Cadets before enlisting.

Edmund Patrick Gallagher

Edmund Patrick Gallagher

Whilst on the front, he corresponded with family members. Below is a postcard which was addressed to his sister, Dot.


Edmund was wounded in action:

…  Pte Gallagher was wounded on the night of Feb. 5th and died about an hour after being hit. The Stretcher bearers of the 16th Battn tried very hard to carry him back to the dressing station but he was delirious and very restless and they were unable to keep him on the stretcher and before they could get far he was dead. It was only a very small wound and appeared to be through the heart. Owing to very heavy casualties I am very sorry to say until the time we were relieved he was not buried. There is absolutely no doubt as to his identity. He was a good soldier and a good comrade and if you are corresponding with his relatives I would be pleased if you would convey to them my deepest sympathy.
Letter from J.A Denny 5002 13th Battn. France. 21/11/1917.[1]

Edmund is buried at Bancourt British Cemetery, France[2] and he is commemorated on the Keiraville Honour Roll which was originally in the Keiraville Mechanics’ Institute.

Illawarra Mercury, 15 February 1918 commemorating the fallen heroes, including E P Gllagher.

Illawarra Mercury, 15 February 1918 commemorating the fallen heroes, including E P Gllagher.


[1] Australian Red Cross Society, Wounded and Missing: 5696  Private Edmund Gallagher, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2013 <–1-.PDF >, viewed 11 December 2013.

[2] Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour – Edmund Gallagher, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2013, <; viewed  11 December 2013.