John Murdoch MCLEAN


MCLEAN, John Murdoch

Service Number: 5728
Enlisted: 10 February 1916
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 15th Infantry Battalion
Born: Moongan, Queensland, Australia, April 1890
Home Town: Moongan, Rockhampton, Queensland
Schooling: Moongan, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Railway labourer
Died: SW abdomen, 3rd casualty Clearing Station in Pozieres, France, 6 April 1917
Cemetery: Pozières British Cemetery
Pozieres British Cemetery (Plot II, Row D, Grave No. 10), Ovillers-La-Boisselle, France, Pozieres British Cemetery Ovillers-La Boisselle, Pozieres, Picardie, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Mount Morgan Calliungal North State School Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

10 Feb 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 5728, 15th Infantry Battalion
4 May 1916: Involvement Private, SN 5728, 15th Infantry Battalion
4 May 1916: Embarked Private, SN 5728, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Choon, Brisbane
5 Apr 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 5728, 15th Infantry Battalion, German Withdrawal to Hindenburg Line and Outpost Villages, Wounded near Lagnicourt, SW abdomen, transferred to 3rd casualty Clearing Station in Pozieres, Somme - DoW

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Pte 5728 John Murdoch Mclean
15th Australian Infantry Battalion
The Somme, over a hundred years ago, here, on these lands of Remembrance, fought and fell a whole generation of men in what was one of the deadliest battles of the 20th century, on the entire front of the Somme , fell more than 1,300,000 men who now rest in peace under the shade of their white graves between which grow in silence the poppies of Remembrance through which these men, young and brave, still stand proudly and who served with honor and loyalty for their country, for peace and humanity, for justice and freedom and who, in the trenches and battlefields of the Somme, gave their today and their lives for our tomorrow. Forever young, we will always honor their memory with the utmost care and with love to bring them back to life so that they will never be forgotten so that they will live forever.

Today,it is the memory of one of these men among millions, one of my boys of the Somme whom I want to honor with gratitude,I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 5728 John Murdoch Mclean who fought in the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion and who died of his wounds 104 years ago, on April 6, 1917 at the age of 27 on the Somme front.

John Murdoch Mclean was born in 1890 in Moongan, Mount Morgan, Queensland, and was the son of John and Amy Mclean, of Moongan, Mount Morgan. John Murdoch was educated at Calliungal North State School, Mount Morgan and before the outbreak of the war, he worked as a railway labourer.

Enlisted on February 10, 1916 at Rockhampton, Queensland, in the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion, 18th Reinforcement, he embarked with his unit from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A49 Seang Choon on May 4, 1916 and sailed for Suez, Egypt where he was disembarked on June 25, 1916 and where he received intensive training in particularly difficult heat with the 4th Training Battalion.Two months later, on August 6, 1916, John embarked with the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion from Alexandria, Egypt, on board Megantic and sailed for Folkestone, England, where he arrived on December 28 and embarked the same day for France on board Princess Clémintine.The next day,on December 29, 1916, John was disembarked in Etaples, France and was immediately sent to the battlefields of the Somme.

The Battalion's first major action in France was at Pozieres in the Somme valley then John fought bravely during the battle of Mouquet Farm which was one of the deadliest battles of the Australian army in the Somme which lost more than 11,000 men.

After the terrible fighting at Mouquet Farm, John and the 15th Australian Infantry Battalion were, on April 1, 1917, sent to Lagnicourt, Pas-De-Calais, not far from the Somme where, unfortunately, a few days later, on April 4 1917, under heavy bombardment from German artillery, John was seriously wounded by a shrapnel which perforated his abdomen. He was evacuated to the 13th Australian Field Ambulance on April 5 and then to the 3rd casualty Clearing Station in Pozieres, Somme ,on April 6 where he died shortly after being admitted, he was 27 years old.

Today, John Murdoch Mclean rests in peace with his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Pozieres British Cemetery, Ovillers-La Boisselle, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription "He never would give up his shield but in his savior's trust ".
John, you who fought with so much bravery and served with honor alongside your friends and comrades for your country in the names of values which for you, in your heart, justice and freedom, gave you the strength and courage to do your duty with the greatest of courage in the trenches of the Somme and northern France where so many men, under downpours of lead, crossed storms of steel rumbling above their heads and their steel helmets they lived every day, wet and trembling with cold under the incessant rains, in water and blood, in a deep and sticky mud, fear in the pit of their stomachs, they stood with the greatest of bravery under firestorms, under the unleashing of shells that poured death and anihilation on the battlefields where nothing could survive amid the flames and explosions that transformed once peaceful towns and fields into fields of ruins and death which were scarified by barbed wire in which collapsed and were stopped, mowed down, a whole generation of men, heroes under the crossfire and enraged machine guns and rifles which swept every meter of land.In this hell of fire, steel and mud, united in an incredible and strong comradeship and brotherhood, these young men showed exceptional courage and endurance, they lived the darkest and most difficult times that men could go through,and yet they remained united and strong, determined and convinced to do what was right and together overcame, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, the horrors of a world at war and the deadliest battles of the great war in which, with strength, conviction, energy and dedication, they fought like lions.with honor and the greatest of courage, they kept their heads high and their hearts brave in a war that tried to rob them of their humanity despite the death that surrounded them and that they saw, that they heard a few meters from them , on no man's land where so many of their friends fell before them and never made it home.They knew that soon it would be their turn to go over the top and charge,rifles and bayonets forward, side by side, guided by their officers who were among the first to fall, with bravery they marched under the whistling of bullets and shells, in the howls of their comrades who fell, wounded, unable to move and for which they could do nothing and it was heart torn but strong, determined that they continued to advance, paying for every meter with terrible losses, in a mud in which flowed so much blood and tears, they gave all they had, and in a last assault, a last heroic charge, they gave their lives and fell through the poppies with in their hearts the pride of having served their countries and of having fought alongside brave men and knew that their sacrifices, their deaths would not be vain.Today, peace and silence reigns through the old battlefields and cemeteries of the Somme, the cannons, the howls, the sound of shells and machine guns have disappeared and it is under a peaceful sun that I walk in the footsteps of these men, of these boys, in the peace for which they gave their lives and in which we live,I walk in their footsteps with respect to learn from these men who did so much for us and whose stories I want to share with all my heart because for me, watching over these young men whom I call very respectfully and affectionately my boys of the Somme is an honor, a pride, a privilege, I do not want them to be forgotten, I would always be devoted to them by giving them my life to make them live. For them and for their families, without hesitation, I would give my energy, my heart and my dedication, I would always carry high and proud the flame of Remembrance and in my heart, their faces, their names, their history, their memory, they will never cease to live.Thank you John,for everything.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.