James Francis DOWLING MSM

Badge Number: S2390

DOWLING, James Francis

Service Number: 20213
Enlisted: 6 August 1915
Last Rank: Not yet discovered
Last Unit: 8th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Farina, South Australia, 2 March 1893
Home Town: Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Bank Clerk with National Australia Bank
Died: Kingston, South East, South Australia, 1 November 1951, aged 58 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: AIF Cemetery, West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia
Section: KO, Road: 20, Site No: 57
Memorials: Adelaide National Australia Bank WW1 Honour Board, Farina War Memorial, Kadina & District WW1 Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

6 Aug 1915: Enlisted
20 May 1916: Involvement SN 20213, 8th Field Artillery Brigade
20 May 1916: Embarked SN 20213, 8th Field Artillery Brigade , HMAT Medic, Melbourne
11 Nov 1918: Involvement SN 20213

World War 2 Service

3 Mar 1942: Enlisted Royal Park, VIC


The Advertiser (Adelaide) Tuesday 25 July 1950

RSL State Secretary Resigns

The resignation because of ill health of the State Secretary of the RSL, Mr J F Dowling was announced by the State board of the league last night.
The announcement said that Mr. Dowling had applied for three months' sick leave and had tendered his resignation to take effect from the end of that period.
Accepting Mr. Dowling's resignation, the board said it felt sure that all RSL members would join in wishing Mr. Dowling a speedy recovery.
Mr D. O'Bryen was appointed acting secretary.

Served In Two Wars

Mr. Dowling was born at Farina on March 2, 1893 and was an officer of the National Bank when he enlisted in 1915. He served with the 31st Battery of the 8th Brigade Field Artillery in France.
Mr. Dowling resigned from the bank in 1933 to join the Repatriation Commission and left that post to accept the secretaryship of the RSL in February 1936.

In World War II he was staff officer to Gen. Leane in establishment of the VDC in SA, and in December, 1941, was granted leave by the league to rejoin the army.

He served with the rank of captain at LQH at Melbourne and Brisbane and in New Guinea and resumed duty as State Branch secretary in April 1945.

Mr Dowling was awarded the OBE in the 1946 New Years Honors list.


Death details and WWI and WWII service, 1951

Dowling Farina WWI and WWII

The Advertiser (Adelaide), Friday 2 November 1951
Former RSL Secretary's Death
Mr. James Francis Dowling, a former secretary of the SA branch of the Returned Servicemens’ League, died in hospital at Kingston yesterday at the age of 58. Mr. Dowling, who was born at Farina, enlisted for World War I at the age of 22. He served in France, and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and was mentioned in dispatches. After World War I he returned to his work at the National Bank and was manager of branches at Unley and Gladstone. In February 1936 he was appointed State secretary of the RSL. He had been president of the Unley and Gladstone sub-branches. He was instrumental in the formation of the Mid Northern Sub-Branch Conference.
A.I.F. Post
In 1941 he was selected as the RSL representative of the AIF overseas, but owing to the entry of Japan into the war did not take up this appointment. In 1942 he was released to serve with the 2nd AIF and served at LHQ and on New Guinea force. He resumed his appointment as State secretary of the league in April 1945 and resigned for health reasons in October 1950. He was honorary secretary of the Kingston sub-branch. He leaves a widow, two daughters and a son. The funeral, which will leave Siebert's Funeral Parlor, Wakefield street at 3 p.m. today for the AIF Cemetery, West terrace, will pass the league office in Angas street.
Staff Tribute
The office will be closed at 3 p.m., and the staff will line up. The club flag will be flown half-mast. The State president of the RSL said yesterday that Mr. Dowling's services to the league were well recognised, and that he gave a great many years to the RSL, for which he was awarded the OBE in 1947. 'Mr. Dowling's death will be regretted by every member of the league,' said the State secretary of the RSL (Mr. F. Hall). When the RSL Congress resumed yesterday, delegates stood in silence as a mark of respect to Mr. Dowling.

Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography contributed by Kathleen Bambridge

General Birdwood presented his Meritorious Service Medal on 6 March 1920.

Biography contributed by tony griffin

James Francis Dowling was the son of James Patrick and Margaret Dowling.

James Patrick and Margaret (nee Crosby) Dowling moved to Manoora in 1914. James, a mounted police officer about to be promoted to the sub-inspectors rank, was compelled to retire from the force due to ill health. Their daughter Eva was to become a prominent Manoora resident and would serve as Postmistress at Manoora for 21 years until she moved to Adelaide in 1947.

James Dowling was born on 2 March 1893 at Farina in the north of South Australia. Initially rejected for the AIF because of varicocele he enlisted in Adelaide on 6 August 1915. A bank clerk with the National Australia Bank, 22 year old James was first appointed to E Coy 2nd Depot Battalion. On 1 November he was posted to Field Artillery Reinforcements with the rank of Gunner and in March of 1916 was posted to 8th Field Artillery Brigade which was being formed in the Australian Field Artillery Camp at Maribyrong in Victoria. Here, on 1 April, James was appointed to 31st Battery and promoted to Quartermaster – Sergeant. The 8th Field Artillery Brigade embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT A7 Medic on 20 May 1916 and disembarked at Plymouth, England on 15 July. The unit attended training camps at Hillsea and Codford before returning to Camp 16 at Larkhill prior to proceeding overseas to France on 30 December. After landing at Havre the 8th Field Artillery moved to Strazeele and remained in Europe for the remainder of the war. James saw action at Messines, Broodeseinde, Passchendale, Hamel, Amiens, Mont St Quentin and on the Hindenburg Line. During this time James was to spend 5 days on leave to Paris in November 1917 and four weeks on leave to England in February 1918.

On Friday 5 July 1918 the following notice appeared in The Advertiser:

McCONVILLE-DOWLING.– The engagement is announced of Dorothea M. McConville, second daughter of H. J McConville, late of Robe, to Q.M.Sgt. J. F. Dowling, 31st battery, 8th Field Artillery Brigade. A.I.F., abroad, third son of Mr. And Mrs. J. P. Dowling, of Manoora.

With the war over the 8th Field Artillery Brigade remained in France to prepare for demobilization. On 25 February James reported sick to 55th Casualty Clearing Station and several days later was transferred to 7th General Hospital suffering from VD. After 2 days James was invalided to England aboard the hospital ship HMHS St. Andrew where he was admitted to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital at Bulford. He was discharged 3 days later.

James was mentioned in despatches for his service and recommended for a Meritorious Service Medal.

“These N.C.O.’s since the Division arrived in FRANCE, have been Q.M.S.’s and have done excellent work in that capacity. During the operations in BELGIUM and the whole of the recent operations on the SOMME, have shown keen devotion to duty and have never failed in the smallest details of their duty, and have often been the means by which the batteries have been kept in action owing to the quickness in getting up spare parts etc,. They have set an excellent example to all ranks.”

On 3 June 1919 James was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

“During the period Sept, 17 to Dec, 31st, 1918 Quarter – Master Sergeant DOWLING has rendered invaluable service to his Battery. Throughout the heavy operations leading up to the cessation of hostilities, his unfailing energy and keen devotion to duty, often under trying conditions, was the means of keeping his battery in action at critical periods. This N.C.O. has been with his battery ever since its arrival in FRANCE, and his consistent work being a fine example to all ranks.”

James embarked from England aboard SS Windhuk on 19 June 1919 and disembarked in Melbourne on 18 August. He was discharged on 3 October 1919.

James returned to his employment with the  National Bank  until he resigned in 1933 to join  the Repatriation Commission, a post he left in 1936 to accept the  position of State Secretary of the Returned Servicemen's  League in South Australia. With the outbreak of World War II James became staff officer to General Leane who established the Volunteer Defence Corps. He re-enlisted and served with the rank of captain at Local Headquarters in Melbourne, Brisbane and New Guinea. In April 1945 James resumed his position as State secretary  of the RSL.

James Dowling died on 1 November 1951 and is buried in the AIF Cemetery, West Terrace.