Richard Merrick (Will) CONDON


CONDON, Richard Merrick

Service Numbers: 351, Commissioned Officer
Enlisted: 12 February 1915
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 22nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Beaconsfield, Western Australia, 9 October 1895
Home Town: Prahran, Stonnington, Victoria
Schooling: Spring Road State School, Malvern, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Killed In Action, Pozieres, France, 5 August 1916, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Pozières British Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Fremantle Fallen Sailors & Soldiers Memorial
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World War 1 Service

12 Feb 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 351, 22nd Infantry Battalion
10 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 351, 22nd Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '14' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Ulysses embarkation_ship_number: A38 public_note: ''
12 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Commissioned Officer, 22nd Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
5 Aug 1916: Involvement Second Lieutenant, SN Commissioned Officer, 22nd Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

His father, 4762 Private John Denis Condon, 46th Battalion AIF was killed in action at Messines 11 June 1917.

2nd Lieutenant Richard Merrick Condon (Will), 22nd Battalion AIF, enlisted when he was only 20 years and 1 month old. Richard was the son of Anne Condon, East Malvern, Victoria, and John Dennis Condon. He was born in Fremantle and was living in Prahran, Melbourne, when he enlisted in December 1914.

Richard served in the Senior Cadets as an Acting Captain, and he was made a Sergeant when he left Australia with the 22nd Battalion in May 1915, which landed on Gallipoli at the end August 1915. He was promoted to Acting Company Sergeant Major in September 1915, despite still being only 19 years of age, and was then promoted to Company Sergeant Major in November 1915. After the evacuation of Gallipoli, back in Egypt, he dropped back in rank to Sergeant, at his own request. 

He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, 22nd Battalion on the 2 August 1916. His mother stated on his roll of honour circular that “he was with the troops when the Southland was torpedoed. He sent home results of Lieutenants exam, total 96%. Colonel recommended him for a commission, but the Brigadier said he was too young, as he was not yet 20 years old.”

Will Condon was killed in action at Pozieres on the 5 August 1916 and is buried in the Pozieres British Cemetery Ovillers-La-Boisselle, near Pozieres in France. The mother Anne Condon also said that “the father’s Battalion was going in at Pozieres as the 22nd Battalion was leaving the field, he enquired for his son, to learn that he was one of the first over the parapet but never returned.”

Richard was recommended for a Mention in Despatches, dated 9 August 1916.

“For gallantry and skill in command of his Company when all officers had become casualties. Also for valuable reconnaissance work at Pozieres.”

His father, 4762 Private John Denis Condon, 46th Battalion AIF, enlisted on the 20 August 1915, seven months after his son, and was on active service in France with the 14th Battalion AIF when his son was killed. The father himself was wounded at Pozieres by shrapnel in the left foot, later rejoining his battalion and was killed in action at Messines, at the age of 50, on the 11 June 1917. When he enlisted he understated his age by about 5 years. His wife wrote upon his roll of honour circular, “We are all proud to know that old as he was he served without a break until he was wounded in September, returning to duty about a fortnight later, and serving until he was killed in June.” John Condon was buried in the Messines Ridge British Cemetery, Belgium.