CUSACK, Bernard

Service Number: 3433
Enlisted: 9 August 1915, Perth, Western Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1)
Born: Bell Trees, New South Wales, 30 April 1897
Home Town: Fremantle, Fremantle, Western Australia
Schooling: Kattanning and Fremantle
Occupation: Cabinet Maker
Died: Perth, Western Australia, 7 February 1969, aged 71 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery & Crematorium
Roman Catholic Section; Lawn 7; Grave 0211. ***NOTE this plot EXPIRED 2/7/2012. -- please PH 1300 793 109.
Memorials: Mount Hawthorn War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

9 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Perth, Western Australia
1 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3433, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
1 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3433, 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), HMAT Benalla, Fremantle
6 Jul 1919: Discharged AIF WW1
Date unknown: Involvement 16th Infantry Battalion (WW1), Battle for Pozières

Help us honour Bernard Cusack's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Robert Kearney

Birth Registration Details

Name: Bernard Cusack
Birth Date: 1897
Birth Place: New South Wales
Registration Year: 1897
Registration Place: Scone, New South Wales, Australia
Mother: Margaret C
Registration Number: 16564


The majority of the Cusack’s arrived in Western Australia in 1900 on the ship Paroo, having previously lived in Scone NSW.

On arrival they initially took up residence in Katanning but soon moved to Fremantle where they took up residence at 185 Holland Street. (In the 1930s the street was re-numbered and the residence became, and remains, 110 Holland Street.)  

Their eldest son was Edward Patrick Cusack who had preceded his family to WA
and he initially lived in the South West where he was employed in forestry work.
He joined the police force for several years and then took up farming in Narembeen.
near Wandering.

Joe and Luke Cusack also joined him there though Luke would return to live in Fremantle.

Mary 'Agnes' Cusack had also preceded her family to WA as she arrived in 1899,
working as a governess to a mining engineer G.R. Lovell and travelled the world with the Lovell’s.
Agnes and the Lovell’s had planned to take the Titanic on its return trip and news of its sinking
was thought to have caused her mother Anne Cusack to have a heart attack when she heard
the news!

After her mother’s death Agnes returned home to Fremantle to take care of her family and
she found employment at the Old Women’s home in Finnerty Street.

1912  - Robert, Matthew, Luke and Bernie were still all living at home in Holland Street.

Attached in a link are the stories of the 5 Cusack boys that served in the WW I:-
Joseph M. Cusack; Robert J. Cusack; Matthew P. Cusack; Bernard Cusack & William L. Cusack.

Bernard lived with his sister  Mary 'Agnes' Cusack  at 185 Holland Street, Fremantle, WA
prior to enlisting.

He was a cabinet maker by trade and had spent five years in an apprenticeship.

Previous military experience, being a member of the 86A Cadets based in Fremantle.

Described on enlisting as 21 years old (although he was only "18");
5' 8" tall; 129 lbs; dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair, Roman Catholic.

9/8/1915          enlisted at Fremantle
                        completed a medical examination and was found to be physically fit.

Upon his successful enlistment Bernie was sent to Blackboy Hill camp where he was initially
assigned to No.21 Depot Company.

23/8/1915       he was transferred to the 1st Depot Battalion though he only spent four days
                       with this group before he was transferred into the 11th Reinforcements to the
                      16th Battalion.

He trained with this group in WA for the next two months and towards the end of October
their embarkation orders arrived.

The group entrained from Bellevue to Fremantle.

1/11/1915       Embarked on  HMAT Benalla A24

The sea journey to Egypt took just over three weeks and Bernard arrived there towards the
end of the month. He would have been expecting to be sent on to Gallipoli though by the time
he arrived in Egypt, the decision had been made to evacuate the peninsula so Bernie’s
reinforcement group were retrained in Egypt, spending the next few months as a member of
the 4th Training Battalion.

7/3/1916        he was transferred into the 16th Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir camp.

The 16th Battalion remained in Egypt until early June 1916 when they boarded a troopship
and sailed for France.

After arriving at Marseilles the soldiers were entrained north.

They soon had their first experiences of front line conditions near Armentieres but after a short
period they were transferred to the Somme front.

In early August 1916 Bernard and the 16th Battalion went into action near Pozieres.

10/8/1916     wounded during an attack by a bayonet through the ankle.
                     After treatment at a Field Ambulance, Bernie was was sent to the 12th General
                     Hospital at Rouen  (9 days).

20/8/1916     Embarked on board  HS Aberdonian, ex Rouen, France for England
                     Upon arrival in England Bernard was sent to Graylinwell War Hospital in Chichester.
                     He spent the next few weeks there.
13/9/1916     released, fully fit and was transferred to the 4th Training Battalion.

22/9/1916     returned to France and was marched into the 4th Australian Division Base Depot.
                     He spent another few weeks here.
16/10/1916   eventually returning to the 16th Battalion.

The Australians were to spend the next few months in the Somme sector undergoing the coldest
French winter in decades. Many men were evacuated sick during this period.

5/1/1917       Sick, sent to the 4th Field Ambulance at Allonville - mumps
                     transferred to the 25th Stationary Hospital and remained here for the next few weeks.

28/1/1917     transferred to the Base Depot Camp
17/2/1917     joined the 16th Battalion.

Over the next several months Bernie fought in several engagements:-
April 1917    - most notably at Bullecourt, when the 16th Battalion suffered severe casualties in
                      breaching the Hindenburg Line and
June 1917    - Messines Belgium

24/7/1917     appointed Lance Corporal

27/8/1917     appointed  to Corporal

Sept 1917     served at the Third Battle of Ypres

1/10/1917     he was given a break from front line service when he was transferred to England
                     for a period of duty with the 4th Training battalion.
                     Over the next 8 months Bernie served in various training camps on the
                     Salisbury Plains.

1/6/1918       returned to France

12/6/1918     re-joined the 16th Battalion

4/7/1918       He served with his unit at the successful Battle at Hamel

8/8/1918       he took part in the successful advance referred to as the Battle of Amiens.

8/8-18/9/1918  the 16th Battalion were hardly out of the line, as the Germans were continually
                        pushed back.

During the successful action in the 16th Battalion’s last fight of the war on 18/9/1918,
Bernie was recommended for a gallantry award due to his bravery.

The recommendation read:
      "Is brought to notice for his outstanding gallantry on 17 September 1918,
       in an attack on Le Verguier, near St Quentin. During the advance he
       encountered and sustained casualties from an enemy machine gun.
       He quickly led a party against the enemy strong post and personally
       bombed and silenced two guns, capturing or killing the crews. His
       devotion to duty and personal example to his men was of the highest order.”



This award of the Military Medal was announced on 30 October 1918 and was published in
the London Gazette on 17/6/1919.

20/9/1918     the 16th Battalion was relieved from the front
                     they were sent for a rest near the french coast.

They were about to return to the front when the Armistice was declared on 11/11/1918.

Four days later Bernie was promoted to Sergeant.

After the Armistice the Australians were sent to what had been German occupied Belgium where
they spent Christmas 1918 and saw in the New Year of 1919.

30/1/1919    returned to England where he waited for a berth on a transport ship home.

7/4/1919      Embarked England on board  Traz Os Montes
                    just under two months later he arrived home.

Bernie was given a medical examination at No.8 AGH in South Terrace Fremantle and he was
discharged from the AIF on 6/7/1919.

MILITARY MEDAL; WWI 1914-15 Star (3018); British War Medal (5379); Victory Medal (5368).


18/1/1921    Bernie married  Lou Clarke
                    at St John’s Church in Fremantle

1922            had a daughter Joy

Bernie Cusack later opened his own cabinet making business in Mt Hawthorn.

28/11/1964   Bernard was living at 73 Shakespear Street, Mt Hawthorn, WA.


1969             Bernie passed away

buried in:      Karrakatta Cemetery.


Thank you Pam Caddy, daughter of Matt Cusack, for providing much of this information.

Sourced and submitted by Julianne T Ryan.   11/11/2014.  Lest we forget.