William Quinlan (Barney) O'CONNOR DCM


O'CONNOR, William Quinlan

Service Numbers: 2239, 2239A
Enlisted: 18 May 1916, Broken Hill, New South Wales
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 50th Infantry Battalion
Born: Tibooburra, New South Wales, 17 March 1890
Home Town: Tibooburra, New South Wales
Schooling: Sisters of Mercy School, Broken Hill
Occupation: Stockman
Died: Killed in Action, Villers-Bretonneux, France, 25 April 1918, aged 28 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide The 50th Battalion Commemorative Cross, Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour, Broken Hill War Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

18 May 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2239, Broken Hill, New South Wales
12 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2239, 50th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
12 Aug 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2239, 50th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ballarat, Adelaide
2 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2239, 50th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
2 Apr 1917: Honoured Distinguished Conduct Medal, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages
17 Apr 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 50th Infantry Battalion
4 Jul 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 50th Infantry Battalion
25 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 2239, 50th Infantry Battalion, Polygon Wood
26 Sep 1917: Wounded Corporal, SN 2239, 50th Infantry Battalion, Polygon Wood, Shrapnel Wound (left leg/thigh and back)
24 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 2239A, 50th Infantry Battalion, Villers-Bretonneux

O'Connor's Distinguished Conduct Medal Citation

"10th of April 1917,
At Noreuil on the 2nd April, this man with about five others engaged 40/50 Germans and a Machine Gun behind a barricade. He shot down the German gunner and fired on the rest of the enemy while Pte Jensen rushed the post singled handed and threatened the enemy with two bombs causing the enemy to surrender. He then moved forward and took part in a counter attack which drove the enemy back and reliving the pressure on our right flank."

**End Note: The Pte Jensen mention in the DCM citation above is Pte Jorgan Jensen VC, 50th Battalion. Pte Jensen (ex 10th Battalion) was the only member from the 50th Battalion to win a VC during the war. He was awarded his VC in the same action described above.**

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Service number 2239. Corporal William Quinlan O'Connor DCM was born at Tibooburra, New South Wales. Prior to enlisting he was a stockman at Naryilco Station, Queensland, near the SA/NSW/QLD boarder.

He enlisted at Broken Hill, New South Wales, on the 18th of May 1916 and was assigned to 4th Reinforcements of the 50th Battalion. In Adelaide on the 12th of August 1916 he embarked on HMAT Ballarat (A70) bound for England.

He completed further training with the 13th Training Battalion at Codford before joining the 50th Battalion in France on the 23rd of December, 1916.

He was promoted to Lance Corporal on 17 April 1917; he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bravery in operations at Noreuil, France on 2 April 1917.

He was promoted to Corporal on the 4th of July, 1917. Wounded in action on 26th September 1917, he was eventually evacuated to England with a gunshot wound to his left leg and the centre of his back (possibly shrapnel wounds instead of gunshot?) After a lengthy recovering period in England he finally re-joined the 50th Battalion on the 26th of January 1918.

Three months later, on the 25th April, he was killed in action while involved in the re-capture of Villers-Bretonneux, France. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.

British War Medal: 44902

Victory Medal: 44392

Memorial Plaque: 345102


Steve Larkins Feb 2014