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James Lawrence McKenna

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James Lawrence McKenna
McKenna James Lawrence.jpg
Western Mail 30 Mar 1917 page 23
Personal Information
Date of Birth 4 Aug 1895
Place of Birth Jarrahdale, Western Australia
Death 22 Sep 1976, aged 81
Place of Death East Victoria Park, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 20 years, 1 month
Description 5'5¼" (1.66m) tall ; 116 lbs
52.617 kg
; sallow complexion ; grey eyes ; dark hair
Occupation Saw filer's assistant
Religion Roman Catholic
Address Jarrahdale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr Edward McKenna
Military Information
Reg Number 4860
Date of Enlistment 14 Sep 1915
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 11th Battalion, 15th Reinforcement, transferred to
51st Battalion on 20 May 1916 and
44th Battalion on 27 Oct 1916 /11th Brigade, 3rd Division
Date of Embarkation 1 Apr 1916 ‒ 25 Apr 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A38 Ulysses
Date of Return 1 Jun 1919 ‒ 8 Jul 1919
Ship Returned On SS Somali
Fate Wounded in Action 8 Jun 1917 Messines
Returned to Australia
Monument Jarrahdale Honour Roll
ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal




Pre War

In Feb 1907 was attending the Jarrahdale Board Mill School.

War Service

Two months after beginning his military training, James was allocated to the 14th reinforcement draft for the 11th Battalion, but on 1 Feb 1916 he was reallocated to the 15th reinforcement draft, travelling with them to Egypt.

On 20 May 1916 he was transferred to the 51st Battalion reinforcements from the 3rd Training Battalion in Serapeum, Egypt. Rather than heading to France to join the 51st Battalion, he travelled to England, as on 6 Aug 1916 he embarked in Alexandria and the next entry in his records implies that he was granted leave in England during Aug 1916, as on 1 Sep 1916 he was charged with Overstaying Leave in England from 1:00am 30 Aug 1916 until 7:00am 1 Sep 1916 for which he forfeited 3 days pay and was awarded 10 days field punishment.

On 27 Oct 1916 he was transferred to the 44th Battalion, having only been released from hospital that day. On 25 Nov 1916 along with the rest of the 44th Battalion he left Larkhill, and proceeded overseas to France through Southampton, arriving in Le Havre at 6:30am on 26 Nov 1916, before moving on to Steenwerck where they were placed in reserve.

James had short stints in hospital with scabies (5 - 9 Dec 1916 and 21 Jan - 1 Feb 1917) before being wounded in action on 8 Jun 1917 during the battalion's attack on Messines Ridge.

James suffered a shell wound to his right thumb, and was assessed first by the 9th Australian Field Ambulance, then the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station before being passed to the 1st Convalescent Depot, and then the 3rd Canadian General Hospital. On 3 Jul 1917 James embarked on HMHS St David in Boulogne for England, where he was admitted to the Queens Canadian Military Hospital in Beechborough Park the same day.

Released to the 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital from 7 - 10 Sep 1917 where he appears to have also been treated for appendicitis, before proceeding n furlough and then moving to No.2 Command Depot at Weymouth for rehabilitation.

As with all other casualties, James injury was reported in the Australian press i.e. the Kalgoorlie Sun 15 Jul 1917 p.3 reports 'James Lawrence McKenna, wounded.'

On 28 Nov 1917 James proceeded overseas to France a second time, and spent a few days in the 3rd Australian Division Base Depot at Rouelles before he rejoined the 44th Battalion on 5 Dec 1917, which at that time was training behind the lines in the Somme region.

Leave was granted to him on 25 Oct 1918 after all the Australian Infantry units were withdrawn from the front lines, and he celebrated this by again reporting back late, this time from 9:00pm 10 Mar 1919 to 4:45pm 11 Mar 1919. Punishment was 2 days Field Punishment No 2, and three days pay forfeiture.

On 2 Apr 1919 he began the process of moving back to Australia, where he was discharged by 5th Military District on 23 Sep 1919.

Post War

In early 1922 James married Catherine Smith.

Electoral Roll entries - 1922 Nanga Brook with Catherine, saw filer; 1925 - 1931 Hoffmans Mill saw filer; 1936 Treesville, saw filer; 1943 with son Edward Stanton at Kirip, saw filer; 1954 a clerk at Kirip; 1958 - 1972 at 2 Cardiff street, Victoria Park

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