Francis Lawrence DONNELLY


DONNELLY, Francis Lawrence

Service Number: 3052
Enlisted: 7 October 1916
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 43rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Penola, South Australia, 1886
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: farm labourer
Died: Killed in action, France, 8 August 1918
Cemetery: Heath Cemetery, Picardie
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Cleve WW1 Honor Roll, Cleve War Memorial, Port Broughton War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

7 Oct 1916: Enlisted
23 Jun 1917: Involvement Private, SN 3052, 43rd Infantry Battalion
23 Jun 1917: Embarked Private, SN 3052, 43rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Borda, Adelaide

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Biography contributed by tony griffin

Francis Donnelly was the son of Bernard and Catherine Donnelly. Bernard Donnelly was the teacher at the Port Broughton Public School from 1907 until 1918. Francis was born at Penola in 1896. A farm labourer, he was 30 years old when he enlisted on 14 October 1916.

At Mitcham AIF Camp Francis was posted to 7 Reinforcements 43 Battalion and embarked from Adelaide on 23 June 1917 aboard HMAT A30 “Borda” and disembarked in Plymouth on 25 August. In England he made one indiscretion when he failed to present for a special roll call and was awarded 3 days field punishment. He proceeded overseas to France on 18 December 1917 and four days later was taken on strength of 43 Battalion.

On 8 August 1918 43 Battalion was involved in an approach march and attack east of Hamel and it was on this day that Francis was killed in action.

There are conflicting reports on how he was killed:

3087 Private J. A. Lawrie – “Donnelly was killed instantly by a shell as we were advancing, He was walking along the road near Hamel at the time.

686 Sgt J. J. Hatch – “I saw Donnelly. C. Co. Killed instantly by m.g. bullet (think through head) just after we arrived at our objective opposite Cerisy-Gailly about 7/8am in a shell hole.”

Francis is buried in Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, Somme, France. Plot 3 Row E Grave 20