Year of Birth:  1884

Place of Birth:  Rockhampton, Queensland

Date of Enlistment:  5 October 1915

Date and Place of Embarkation:  12 April 1916, Sydney, New South Wales

Ship:  RMS Mooltan

Rank:  Private

Unit(s):  25th Australian Infantry Battalion

Regimental Number:  4747

Died:  20 September 1917


John O’Leary was born in 1885 to Felix O’Leary and Catherine Clark and had one sister Eliza born 1885 and brother Thomas born 1886. He married Rosalie Florence Fleming of Cairns in 1913.

On his enlistment in Toowoomba on the 5 October 1915, he states he was 29 years 7 months, occupation a Labourer and his next of kin was his wife Rose O’Leary, Victoria Street, Cairns. He was 5 feet 10 ½ inches tall and weighed 160 pounds with fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He was Roman Catholic.

He embarked from Sydney on the RMS Mooltan on 12 April 1916 and arrived in France via England on 11 September 1916 and joined his Battalion shortly after. He was wounded in action and transferred to a 36th Casualty Clearing Station on 6th November. He was admitted to the 4th General Hospital, Rouen with gunshot wounds to his jaw and leg on 7 November then transferred to England on 11 December. He was discharged from hospital after some time but readmitted with mumps and eventually returned to France on 9 August 1917 and rejoined his unit on 27 August 1917.

John O’Leary was killed in action in Belgium on the 20 September 1917 and is remembered at Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Flanders, Belgium.


RMS Mooltan – photo courtesy Australian War Memorial


Cairns Post 16 October 1917 p4


Online Resources

Queensland Birth Death & Marriage Index

NAA: B2455, O’Leary, John, National Archives of Australia

Australian War Memorial

Photograph of RMS Mooltan, Australian War Memorial

Trove Digitised Newspapers, National Library of Australia

Cairns Post 16 October 1917


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