William O’NEILL

Year of Birth:  1886

Place of Birth:  Cooktown, Queensland

Date of Enlistment:  20 September 1915.

Date and Place of Embarkation:  3 January 1916, Brisbane, Queensland

Ship:  HMAT Kyarra A55

Rank:  Sergeant

Unit(s):  9th Infantry Battalion

Regimental Number:  4258

Died:  21 August 1916

Northern Herald (Cairns) 27 October 1916 p30


William (Willie) was born 22 January 1886 in Cooktown to James Henry O’Neill and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Angelina Hackett. William had 2 sisters Anne Jane 28 October 1887, Lizzie Florence 22 June 1889. His mother, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Angelina, died on the 29 September 1890 and his father James married again to Edith Williams, 23 February 1892 and had one son, James Gordon born 21 August 1893. From 1909 to 1913 William was an assistant grocer in his father’s store at Nelson (Gordonvale).

William’s step brother, James Gordon, enlisted on the 27 January 1915 and also served in the 9th Infantry Battalion B2455 1994. He attained the rank of Second Lieutenant and was killed in action 12 August 1918.

William’s father, James Henry died 11 November 1944 and his step mother, Edith Williams died 1941

At the time of his enlistment, William gave his age as 29 years 7 months and his occupation as a Seaman. His next of kin was his father, James E O’Neill, Gordonvale, via Cairns.  His height was 5 feet 1 ¾ inches and weighed 10 stone 10 pounds. William Henry had dark complexion, blue eyes, dark hair and his religion was Church of England.

William O’Neill was killed in action at Mouquet Farm France, on the 21 August 1916.  He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour at Villiers-Brettonneux, Picardie, France.


HMAT Kyarra A55 – photo courtesy Australian War Memorial


Australian Red Cross Wounded & Missing


Northern Herald (Cairns) – 29 September 1916, p3 



Online Resources

Photograph of the HMAT Kyarra PB0516, Australian War Memorial

NAA: B2455, O’Neill, William National Archives of Australia

Australian Red Cross Wounded & Missing

Northern Herald (Cairns) 27 October 1916 p30

Northern Herald (Cairns) Friday 6 October 1916 p 26

Northern Herald (Cairns), 29 September 1916, p3

Trove Digitised Newspapers, National Library of Australia


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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