Patrick O'KEEFFE MM

O'KEEFFE, Patrick

Service Number: 6064
Enlisted: 23 November 1915
Last Rank: Lance Sergeant
Last Unit: 4th Infantry Battalion
Born: Tocumwal New South Wales, Australia, 25 April 1887
Home Town: Tocumwal, Berrigan, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Telegraphist
Died: Drummoyne, New South Wales, Australia, 28 July 1982, aged 95 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Pinegrove Memorial Park & Crematorium, N.S.W.
Calvary Section C, number 270
Memorials: Tocumwal Memorial Hall Honour Rolls
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World War 1 Service

23 Nov 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 4th Infantry Battalion
22 Aug 1916: Involvement Private, SN 6064, 4th Infantry Battalion
22 Aug 1916: Embarked Private, SN 6064, 4th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Wiltshire, Sydney
4 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 6064, 4th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , Wounded in action Dannes, France. Transfered to 17th Casualty Clearing Station.Sharpnel wound to buttock then transfered to South General Hospital Dudley Road, Birmingham.
4 Jun 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, 4th Infantry Battalion, While in France appointed to Lance Sergeant after acting Temporary Sergeant in the 4th Battalion.
18 Sep 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, SN 6064, 4th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Passchendaele , Gun shot wound to ankle. Admitted to 3 Star Hospital Roven, France. Later transfered to 5th General Hospital Portsmouth.Then to 3rd Aux. Hospital Dentford.
17 Jun 1919: Honoured Military Medal, Merris (France), For conspicuous bravery and coolness during operations near Hargicourt on 11 Sept. 1918.
15 Nov 1919: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant
17 Mar 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, SN 6064, 4th Infantry Battalion, Discharged from Army in Sydney.

Patrick O'Keeffe

Patrick O'Keeffe was born in Tocumwal, NSW in 1887. Tocumwal is a town on the Murray River near Finley. Patrick was the second eldest of 13 children born to James O'Keeffe an Irish immigrant and Emily Godier a daughter of English immigrants who were minning for gold near Raywood, Victoria when Emily was born.

After leaving school Patrick joined the Post Office and later became a Telegraphist at a number of Post Offices in northern NSW. Patrick enlisted on 22 November 1915 at Casula, NSW. He was attached to 3rd Reinforcements 31st Battalion. Then on 8 February 1916 he was acting Sergeant of "A" Company 4th Battalion.

On 22 August 1916 he embarked on A18 Wiltshire bound for England. He joined a Platoon Commander course at Cangalar Barracks, Tidworth between 20 November 1916 and 13 January 1917. One week later he was promoted to Corporal. In April 1917 he joined a Military Intelligence course with the Coldstream Guards at Windsor. 0n 4 June he proceeded to France. In early October 1917 he was wounded in actions at Dannes and four days later he was shipped over to England with sharpnel wounds.

On 30 November 1917 he rejoined his Battalion in France. In late April 1918 he was acting Sergeant. On 18 September 1918 he was wounded in action, a gun shot wound to the ankle. Patrick was shipped off to England to a hospital in Dentford. On 2 October 1918 he was given two weeks leave then he was attached to Australian Headquarters in London. On 6 June 1919 he granted leave to attend Central Telegraph Office in Glasgow.

On 17 June 1919 he was awarded the Military Medal "for conspicuous bravery and coolness during operations near Harigcourt on 11 Sept. 1918. His Platoon was surrounded by the enemy, he set a splendid example to the men and ably assisted to extricate the platoon from a difficult situation. Previously he led a daylight patrol under machine gun fire about 1000 yards from our lines and when surrounded he gallantly led his men and fought his way back to our lines with very useful information. He set a splendid example to the men under him." Signed by Major General. Commanding 1st Australian Divison.

Patrick returned to Australia on 15 November 1919 aboard "Ypuanga". He diembarked in Sydney on 9 January 1920. He was discharged from the Army on 17 March 1920.

Patrick married Violet Irvin at Fivedock on 23 July 1921. In partnership with his wife and brother-in-law opened a General Store at Wareemba. He worked with other returned servicemen to establish the Returned Soldiers Club at Fivedock. Later on he opened a subranch Post Office at Wareemba. Patrick and Violet had two daughters Mollie, and Patricia. Both daughters married and between them had ten children who all got to know Patrick very well.

Following his wife's death in 1973 Patrick moved into a Nursing Home at Drummoyne where he died on 28 July 1982. He was buried at Pinegrove, Eastern Creek.

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Biography contributed by Carl Parkinson

Patrick O'Keeffe was born in Tocumwal, NSW on 25 April 1887. He was the second of thirteen children born to James O'Keeffe, an Irish Immigrant from County Cork and Emily Godier. Emily was the second youngest of 15 children of John Godier and Elizabeth West, at the time of Emily's birth the family were working the gold fields near Raywood, Victoria.

All the children of James and Emily were born in Tocumwal and they continued to live in this town on the Murray River for more than one hunhred years. All the children of the family were educated at the local Catholic School. As a young man Patrick played AFL in the local league. He also completed as a sprinter in local athletic meetings.

Patrick joined the Post Master General's Department and worked at some Post Offices in Northern NSW as a Telegraphist. Prior to enlisting in the AIF he was employed at the GPO in Martin Place, Sydney.

Patrick attended a send off at Tocumwal in January 1916 for himself and another enlisted man from Tocumwal. He spoke to a reporter about his reason for enlisting. Patrick said "The good old flag which stood for freedom was in danger". He also said " It was the duty of all to enlist and that it was a matter of each man's conscience".

After being discharged from the Army in Sydney in 1920 Patrick went into partnership of a General Store in the Sydney Suburb of Wareemba with his future wife and future brother-in-law. They ran this business for many years then Patrick opened a Post Office Sub Branch in the same suburb.

Also on his return to Sydney he worked with other local returned servicemen to establish the RSL Club at Five Dock. He went out of his way to helped wounded exservicemen as well as helping widows of exservicemen. Later he joined the St Vincent De Paul Society in All Hallows Church at Five Dock and helped those in need in the local area.

Patrick as a young man played AFL so it was only natural that he would follow the local AFL games in his local area after settling in Sydney. He was also a keen race goer and punter and would go to the Saturday Race meeting and have a bet or two. Most nights he would enjoy a glass of Rum. Not sure if this was a follow on of getting a Rum while serving with the AIF in France.

Patrick and his wife Voilet had ten grandchildren who would often stay overnight of a weekend. He liked to play cards and I remember him teaching me and many cousins how to play Cribbage, Euchre and 500. He would also teach some of his five grandson how to kick a football.

Easter and Christmas were times when all the family would gather for a special lunch. Patrick would always say grace before the meal. He always proposed a toast and it was always "Bonne Sante" which he said he had learnt in France. This toast at the start of a meal still continues to this day at our family gatherings as a mark of respect for our beloved Grandfather.

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