Bernard O'Reilly

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Bernard O'Reilly
OReilly Bernard.jpg
Photo courtesy Greg O'Reilly
Personal Information
Date of Birth 14 May 1887
Place of Birth Rosscarbery, Cork, Ireland
Death 2 Apr 1975, aged 87
Place of Death Manning, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 27 years, 5 months
Description 5'8" (1.73m) tall ; 168lbs
76.203 kg
; dark complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Labourer
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Beatrice Rebecca O'Reilly
Military Information
Reg Number 1506
Date of Enlistment 12 Nov 1914
Rank Lieutenant
Unit/Formation 16th Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 22 Feb 1915 ‒ ?? Mar 1915
Transport Details HMAT A50 Itonus Fremantle to Egypt
Journey Dates 11 Apr 1915 ‒ 15 Apr 1915
Transport Details HMT Haida Pascha Alexandria to Lemnos
Journey Dates 25 Apr 1915 ‒ 26 Apr 1915
Transport Details HMT Haida Pascha Lemnos to Anzac Cove
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 14 Jan 1919 ‒ 18 Feb 1919
Transport Details SS City of York England to Fremantle
Post War Details
Fate Wounded in Action (3 times)
Returned to Australia
Medals 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal
St George Medal (Russian)

Pre War

Electoral Roll entry: 1916 at 101 Mile Camp, Trans Railway, labourer.

WW1 Service

Bernard enlisted at the Blackboy Hill camp and was initially in training with No. 3 Depot Company before being allocated to the 16th Battalion's 2nd Reinforcement draft. Bernard embarked on HMAT A50 Itonus a part of the Third Convoy, in Fremantle on 22 Feb 1915, and disembarked at Port Suez on 17 Mar 1915. His records do not include details as to when he joined the 16th Battalion at Gallipoli but while the 1st Reinforcement draft were used as a labour force on the beach for the first few weeks, the 2nd draft joined the battalion in three groups on 27 April, 6 May and 7 May 1915.

Wounded in action on 28 May 1915 with a gun shot wound to his chest (wall and side) at Quinn's Post. Evacuated on HMS Clacton on 30 May 1915, probably for transfer to Mudross where he would have been placed on a larger ship for the voyage to Alexandria. On arrival he was admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital in Heliopolis on 7 Jun 1915. Surgery and initial recovery completed, he was transferred to the Convalescent Camp at Rasa el Tin, Egypt. Bernard had recovered quickly, and was embarked on HMAT A50 Itonus for return to Gallipoli via Mudross on 14 Jul 1915, allowing him to rejoin his battalion on Gallipoli on 19 Jul 1915. Bernard's records are indistinct in parts, but he was admitted to Hospital on 11 Dec 1915 with jaundice, resulting in him being evacuated aboard SS Oxfordshire then acting as a Hospital Ship, on 12 Dec 1915 for Alexandria. On arrival in Egypt he was admitted to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Heliopolis on 15 Dec 1915.

Bernard was discharged to a base unit on 4 Jan 1916, and was transferred to Zeitoun to rejoin his battalion on 5 Feb 1916. On 13 Mar 1916 Bernard was sent to Tel el Kebir to help form the 48th Battalion as the AIF was being re-organised from 2 to 5 Divisions in size. However, eight days later he was reallocated to the 12th Brigade's 12th Machine Gun Company. Bernard was promoted Corporal on 23 May 1916, and then along with the rest of his unit he boarded HMT Kingstonian in Alexandria on 2 Jun 1916 for the voyage to Marseilles in France where they landed on 11 Jun 1916.

Bernard was promoted Sergeant on 19 Aug 1916, and on 18 Sep 1916 the 1st Anzac Routine Orders advised that he had been award a Russian decoration, the Cross of St George, 4th Class. Bernard was wounded in action a second time on 14 Feb 1917 along with several others from his unit. He had received shrapnel wounds to his right thigh. Initially treated by the 12th Field Ambulance, on 18 Feb 1917 he was admitted to the British 6th General Hospital in Rouen. On 24 Feb 1917 he boarded HMHS Grantully Castle for transfer to England where he was admitted to the Reading War Hospital on 24 Feb 1917. On 4 May 1917 he was discharged from hospital and granted 2 weeks furlough, after which he reported to the Training Depot at Perham Downs. He spent several months with the Overseas Training Brigade and with the Machine Gun Training Depot in Grantham before proceeding overseas to France on 11 Oct 1917, rejoining his unit on 17 Oct 1917.

Three days after rejoining his unit he was promoted 2nd Lieutenant, and on 20 Jan 1918 he was promoted again, to Lieutenant. Bernard was then granted a fortnight's leaved from 16 Mar 1918. The unit re-organised during August and became a part of the 4th Machine Gun Battalion. On 3 Aug 1918 Bernard was detached to the Machine Gun School at Camiers, rejoining his unit on 2 Sep 1918. On 19 Sep 1918 Bernard was wounded in action a third time, with a shell wound to his left elbow and abrasions to his chest. The 4th Field Ambulance treated him before sending him back to the 12th Casualty Clearing Station. Seen briefly by the 2nd Stationary Hospital in Abbeville, France, be was embarked on HMHS Brighton for England on 23 Sep 1918. This time he was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital, and on discharge was found to be fit only for sedentary home service. On 5 Dec 1918 he was sent to the No 1 Command Depot to prepare for his return to Australia.

Twenty nine year old Bernard married 23 year old Beatrice Rebecca Howe on 7 Jan 1919 in Camberwell, just before he boarded the SS City of York on 14 Jan 1919 for Fremantle, arriving on 18 Feb 1919. Beatrice first appears on the Electoral Roll in 1921. When she arrived in Australia is unknown.

Post WW1

Electoral Roll entries: 1919 at 151 Mile Camp, Trans Australian Railways, labourer; 1921 - 1922 at Kurrawang, labourer; 1925 at 93 West parade, East Perth, labourer; 1931 at Canning Park Racecourse, Maddington, labourer; 1936 - 1937 at 2 Gallipoli street, Victoria Park, labourer.

On 17 Apr 1936 Bernard had obtained a job as a Repairer on the Western Australian Government Railways South West line at Cannington. On 17 Nov 1936 he was transferred to the Marrinup gang, remaining with them until he was transferred to Armadale on 23 May 1939.

WW2 Service

Bernard served in the 2nd (Fremantle) VDC Battalion.

Post WW2

Bernard remained based at Armadale until his retirement on 29 Apr 1952, just before his 65th birthday.

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 - 1968 at Sixth road, Armadale, railway employee with wife and son Francis Joseph.


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