David Henry John McALLISTER

Year of Birth:  1895

Place of Birth:  Irvinebank Queensland

Date of Enlistment:  11 November 1915

Date and Place of Embarkation:  29 July 1916

Ship:  HMAT Orsova A67

Rank:  Gunner

Unit(s):  2nd Australian Field Artillery Brigade; 21 Howitzer Brigade; 2-10 Reinforcements

Regimental Number:  25476

Died:  8 October 1918


David Henry John McAllister was born 4 July 1895 at Irvinebank, the eldest of seven children to John McAlister and Emily Blundell.  David Henry John born 1895, Adeline Janet 1897, Bessie Adeline 1898, Janett Doreen 1901, Robert Gordon 1903, Donald Merton 1905 and William Bruce 1907.

Prior to his service in the 2nd Australian Field Artillery Brigade, David served in the Far North Queensland Kennedy Regiment, known as the Dirty 500. Members of the Dirty 500, including David, landed on Thursday Island on 16 August 1914 from the troopship “Kanowna”, to take part in the capture of German New Guinea. An incident on board the “Kanowna” involving the firemen forced the immediate return of the troops to Townsville on 18 August 1914; he was discharged the same day.

On his enlistment in the Australian Infantry Force at Cairns on 11 November 1915, his occupation was a Miner and he was aged 20 years and 4 months.  He was 5 feet 7 inches, weighed 152 pounds with a fair complexion, grey eyes and fair hair.  He was Methodist and named his father, John McAlister, Irvinebank, Ql , as his next of kin.

David  embarked on HMAT Orsova on 29 July 1916 from Sydney and arrived at Plymouth, England 14 September 1916.and landed at Etaples, France on 17 January 1917. He was gassed twice in Belgium. The second time he was transferred to the Connaught Hospital in England for treatment on 19 December 1917.

He returned to duty in France on 13 February 1918.  He was wounded in action for the third time on 22 September 1918 and admitted to a Casualty Clearing Station severely wounded in both legs. He died of his wounds on 8 October and is buried at St Sever Cemetery Extension, Haute-Normandie, France.


HMAT Orsova A67 – photo courtesy Australian War memorial


Northern Herald (Cairns) 20 January 1918 p6


Cairns Post 28 October 1918 p4


Cairns Post 9 October 1920 p4


Online Resources

Queensland Birth Death & Marriage Index

NAA: B2455, David Henry John McAllister

Australian War Memorial

Photograph of HMAT Orsova A67, Australian War Memorial

Trove Digitised Newspapers, National Library of Australia

Northern Herald 20 January 1918

Cairns Post 28 October 1918

Cairns Post 9 October 1920


Other Resources

The First Expeditionary Force: the Thursday Island Expedition: a collection of reference documents. Denis Bird, 2015 [CDFHS Library]


If you have a photograph or further information about this soldier you would like to share and add to his biography, please add a comment or contact the Society projects@cdfhs.org


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