James Francis HOURIHAN

Poppy

HOURIHAN, James Francis

Service Number: 6426
Enlisted: 15 August 1916, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 26th Infantry Battalion
Born: Maryborough, Queensland, 1887
Home Town: Maryborough, Fraser Coast, Queensland
Schooling: Kilkivan State School
Occupation: Teamster
Died: Killed in Action, Polygon Wood, Belgium, 15 September 1917
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kingaroy RSL Roll of Honour, Kingaroy Stone of Remembrance, Menin Gate Memorial (Commonwealth Memorial to the Missing of the Ypres Salient), Nanango War Memorial, Tiaro War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

15 Aug 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Brisbane, Queensland
23 Dec 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 6426, 26th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
23 Dec 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 6426, 26th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Demosthenes, Sydney

James Francis Houihan

Service number: 6426
Rank: Private
Roll title: 26 Infantry Battalion - 13 to 18 Reinforcements (May-December 1916) Date of embarkation: 23 December 1916
Place of embarkation: Sydney
Ship embarked on: HMAT Demosthenes
Ship number: A64
Date of death: 15 September 1917
Place of death: Belgium
Cemetery or memorial details: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium
James Hourihan ,a British born Australian was born in 1886 and was from Tarong near Kingaroy in Queensland .His occupation was teamster and farmer .
He enlisted in the AIF on the 25th August 1916 and embarked on the HMAT DEMOSTHENES on the 23rd December 1916, bound for Egypt. He joined the 26th Infantry Battalion as a reinforcement. He was 30 years old at the time of enlistment. Accompanying him was his brother John from Maryborough.
John would also serve on the front line and would return home with severe shellshock.
After initial training with the 7th Training Battalion in England, the brothers were finally in France, arriving on the 20th June 1917 in Havre and marching to join their unit on the 14th July 1917.
Training took place during a very wet August while operations were conducted around Bapaume and the Abbey near Woestine in the St Omen region where further rest periods and training for operations were conducted. On the 13th September the Battalion operated around Steevvoorde and Menin Road area where heavy bombardments took place. On the 18th September many gas shells were thrown at the 26th Battalion area and further heav bombardments. There was to be a major offensive which rain had delayed but finally on the 20th September the various Battalions in support of each other launched an offensive that finally took Westhoek Ridge and into areas of PolyGon Wood..
It was here that 16 members of the Battalion were killed and 8 were to remain missing along with many wounded.
James Francis Hourihan was one of the missing over this period who to this day has never been found,only to be remembered on the Menin Gate.
His brother John was to fight on during October and on the 10th November was to be admitted to hospital in Belgium finally being diagnosed with severe shell shock and returned to Etaples where he was on active service with the Australian Employment Company before being medically unfit ,returned finally back to Weymouth in England where he was repatriated back to Australia .
Source: AWM145 Roll of Honour cards, 1914-1918 War, Army

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Biography

"HOURIHAN. — In sad and loving memory of our dear brother, James Frances Hourihan, who was killed in action on the 15th September, 1917, in France, aged 30 years.

Nay, we must sacrifice a little, Why should we weep for thee, dear Jim?

An honoured death — thou has't died for Britain To keep Australia free.

God gave us strength to send you, Courage to let you go;

All that it meant to lose you, Jim, Only our sad hearts know.

(Inserted by his brother, sisters, and brothers-in-law, Jerry and Dennis. The sisters are May Clifford, Ellen Bickoff, and Norah. Also John, who is at the front. The brothers-in-law are Edward, Clifford and Harry Bickoff.)" - from the Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser 03 Oct 1917 (nla.gov.au)

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