John Henry (Jack) O'Meagher
From Our Contribution
photo Pickering Brook Heritage Group
|Date of Birth||12 May 1917|
|Place of Birth||Carlisle, Western Australia|
|Age at Enlistment||23 years old|
|Description||5'10½" (1.79m) tall ; ; dark complexion ; blue eyes ; dark hair ; 2nd finger on left hand missing|
|Address||Sir James avenue, Harvey, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Father , Mr. John H O'Meagher|
|Date of Enlistment||15 May 1940|
|Unit/Formation||2/2nd Australian Forestry Company|
|1st Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||31 May 1940 ‒ 18 Jul 1940|
|Transport Details||SS Stratheden Fremantle to Liverpool|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||21 Sep 1943 ‒ ?? Sep 1943|
|Transport Details||unknown UK to USA|
|Journey Dates||?? Oct 1943 ‒ 4 Nov 1943|
|Transport Details||USAT Fred C Ainsworth San Franciso to Brisbane|
|2nd Departure from Australia|
|Journey Dates||1 Mar 1944 ‒ 13 Jun 1944|
|Transport Details||SS Alfred C True Sydney to Lae Papua New Guinea|
|Journey Dates||11 Oct 1944 ‒ 15 Oct 1944|
|Transport Details||SS Aconcagua Lae, PNG to Torokina, Bougainville|
|Return to Australia|
|Journey Dates||26 Jul 1945 ‒ 1 Aug 1945|
|Transport Details||unknown Torokina, Bougainville to Sydney|
|Post War Details|
|Fate||Returned to Australia|
1939-45 Star |
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45
Jack O’Meagher was born in 1917 in Perth. He lived at Omeo Orchard in Karragullen and attended the Karragullen Primary School until he left school at the age of 14 years and commenced work at Barton’s Mill, after a short apprenticeship at the Jarrahdale Mill working on the jarrah blocks which were being exported to England for use as street pavers. For some time as a young man he also worked at Wiluna where he prospected for gold.
Enlisted at Northam and allocated to the 2/2nd Australian Forestry Company. From 21 - 28 May 1940 he was granted pre-embarkation leave, and on 31 May 1940 he embarked on SS Stratheden for Liverpool in the UK where they disembarked on 18 Jul 1940. While enroute he had been classified as an Axe man.
In the UK on 14 Feb 1941 he was reclassified as a Sawyer Trade Group I. On 5 Jul 1941 he was admitted to the Shotley Bridge Emergency Hospital with Dhobi Itch, and he rejoined his unit on 30 Jul 1941. He was admitted to the Tottenham Emergency Hospital on 17 Oct 1941 with tonsillitis before being released back to his unit three days later. However, he was readmitted the following day i.e. 21 Oct 1941 and on 1 Nov 1941 he was transferred to the Homick Hall Avenue Hospital. Health restored he rejoined his unit on 12 Nov 1941, and on 4 Feb 1942 he was again reclassified, this time as Sawer Trade Group II. John was appointed Lance Corporal on 8 May 1942, before being admitted to the Dumphries Infirmary with a head injury on 19 May 1942. He appears to have been hospitalised until 20 Jun 1942 when he was again taken on strength by his unit. On 17 Jul 1943 John married Lillian Joyce in the UK. At the time Lillian was a serving member of the British forces.
John boarded ship for Australia on 21 Sep 1943, with the last leg from San Francisco aboard USAT Fred C Ainsworth before disembarking in Brisbane on 4 Nov 1943. On 13 Nov 1943 John arrived in Perth by train from Queensland via Victoria for some leave. On 11 Dec 1943 he returned to NSW by train to attend the Engineer's Training Centre. On 1 Jan 1944 his trade grouping was changed to Millwright Special Group I, but on 14 Jan 1944 it was again changed, this time back to Sawyer Trade Group II, after which he was detached to the 10th Australian Workshop & Park Company. He was also promoted Acting Corporal on the same day. His promotion was confirmed on 1 Mar 1944 before he embarked in Sydney on the Liberty Ship SS Alfred C True on 13 Jun 1944, disembarking in Lae, Papua New Guinea on 30 Jun 1944.
On 11 Oct 1944 he embarked on the SS Aconcagua in Lae, Papua New Guinea. They sailed at 10:00am the following day for Torokina on Bougainville, disembarking on 15 Oct 1944 having arrived there late the previous day. He was to remain on Bougainville until 26 Jul 1945 when he embarked on HMT Duntroon in Torokina for Newcastle in NSW, disembarking there on 1 Aug 1945. On discharge John gave his home address as Karragullen before being discharged on 8 Sep 1945.
He served in the Islands, visited the United States and was based for some time in England and Scotland cutting timber for the repair and rebuilding of bridges destroyed by German bombing. It was during this time that he met and married his wife Joyce who travelled to join him at the finish of the war.
The three O'Meagher brothers - Jack, Tom and Bill - resumed their lives in Karragullen, centered around the family orchard. They had a case mill, making fruit transport cases for growers in the area. According to the oral history of Dawn O'Meagher (Jack's sister-in-law), each of the brothers was gifted a block of land by their father to build a house on. At some stage Jack and his wife Joyce shifted to Illawarra Road nearby. Jack O’Meagher died in 1999 aged 82.
Some information taken from A brief biography of JACK O'MEAGHER at BLSL, item No - AL10101178334B