Badge Number: 3778, Sub Branch: Berri

MCCREANOR, Roy Wilfred

Service Number: 2947
Enlisted: 9 June 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Adelaide, South Australia , 1891
Home Town: Berri, Berri and Barmera, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: South Australia , 28 December 1952, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Berri Cemetery, S.A.
Memorials: Berri WW1 Gate of Honour, Men from Renmark and District Roll of Honor Boards (4)
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World War 1 Service

9 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2947, Adelaide, South Australia
21 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2947, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
21 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2947, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Star of England, Adelaide
23 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2947, 10th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , GSW (arm)
20 Jun 1917: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 2947, 10th Infantry Battalion

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

Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College



Roy Wilfred McCreanor (1891-1952) was born in Adelaide, South Australia. McCreanor was 5 Feet 6 ¼ inches tall, weighed 134lbs, had hazel eyes and brown hair. He and his family were Roman Catholic. He was single and a labourer before enlisting. He was the eldest son of a large Irish Catholic family. His parents left Adelaide to join a new fruit growing settlement along the River Murray at Berri, while his job was to clear the land and plant vines and fruit trees. McCreanor had 11 siblings, including Allan who also went to the war. His brother Ern went to WW2. His father, Joseph McCreanor, was born on 11th December 1860 and Roy’s mother, Sarah Harriet McCreanor (Pepper), was born on 5th January 1868. 

McCreanor enlisted on the 14/6/1915 when he was 23 9/12 years old, being one of 165,912 people who enlisted in 1915. His service number was 2947. McCreanor first served in the H Group Base Informatory for 17 days. On 1st July 1915, he was transferred and joined the 10th Australian Infantry Battalion, 9th Reinforcement. On the 6th September - 8th September 1915, he committed a crime for being absent without leave from 9:00 am to 9:30 am. He was punished with two days' pay taken away. He embarked onto HMAT Star of England A15 from Adelaide, South Australia. This ship was made in Queensland, Australia in September 1914 and it carried the first group of people to Egypt, including McCreanor.  On 29/11/1915, he was taken on strength in Mudros, Greece. He was in a training camp on the Greek island of Lemnos, where he wrote his first diary entry. ‘Many games of football was played here at Lemnos, our battalion was victorious every time. Rugby and cricket was also played here. There was plenty of food for us: biscuits, puddings and jam. We can also buy plenty of fruit. Mostly oranges and nuts from the Greek people. On the side drinks too if you wanted it’ (from his diary) He disembarked from “Seang Bee” in Alexandria, Egypt. 

On 7/1/1916, his battalion was sent to join the Battle of Pozieres in France, which was a part of the Battle of the Somme. In over two weeks, more than 12,000 Australian soldiers were wounded or killed. According to the unit diaries, at 7:00 pm, they marched from Sailly via Le Verrie and Oultersteen near Moolenacker. After nineteen days, the soldiers marched from Albert to Sausage Valley where they stayed at an old British trench until 10:00 pm of 22/7/16 they proceeded via Black Watch Alley to attack on Pozieres. During 22/7-25/7/1916, they left Sausage Valley and proceeded via Black Watch Alley to support the 9th Battalion, who finished their waves of attack. They, together head to their objective trench X5D.7.9. to X5.C.1/3.3. They were heavily shelled with both poison gas I.H.E shell which caused several casualties tendering and had to put on anti-gas helmets which caused some delay to their next point. On 23/7/1916, McCreanor decided by himself that he walked back along the trenches for 5 miles while stepping over wounded and dead. He was going to inform the situation to the clearing station, but he went the long way around. His decision saved his life. He was only injured. Two days later, he was admitted to a hospital in Etaples because of a gunshot wound in his arm and ankle. On the 29/7/1916, there was a gunshot wound on his right ankle in France during action in the Battle of Pozieres.  He rested in Calais, England. Two days later, on the 31/7/1916, he admitted into the 1st Northern General Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. At that time, the wound on his arm was quite severe.

On the 16/11/1916, he was transferred to 1st Australia Hospital in Weymouth, England. This was because of the wound in his ankle and arm. After one month, on the 14/12/1916, he was discharged from the 1st Australia Hospital. He had an overstaying leave from 6 pm to pm on the 3/1/1917 – 4/1/1917. He was punished by 2 days' pay taken away by LR.L Pency. On the 13/2/1917, he returned to Australia via the H.T Ulysses from Plymouth, England. He was discharged from the 4th Medical department on the 20/6/1917 due to medically unfit. In total, he survived 2 years 7 days and 1 year 237 days abroad. McCreanor was lucky enough to survive through the hard times, being one of the 156,000 Australian men who were injured or wounded and one of the 416,809 men who was enlisted survived.

McCreanor’s salary each day before embarkation was $50. After embarkation, his salary was still $50 excluding deferred pay. His allotment to Australia every day after embarkation was $30. His salary not including allowance after embarkation is $20. After discharge, he was married to Gladys McCreanor (Dreyer). They had two sons called Bob McCreanor and Louis Edward McCreanor. Louis Edward McCreanor was born on 26 September 1921. He enlisted on 27 July 1941 for World War 2. His highest rank was Sergeant while his dad’s highest rank was a Private. Every soldier discharged during that time was given a set of lands so they have had an income. He joined the early fruit packing and winery union and was a member of the Australian dried fruit association. He helped establish the libraries at Berri and Monash. He was also one of the founding members of the Catholic church in the Riverlands. Throughout his experiences in World War One, he kept a diary which his family members read after his death many years later. He passed away in 1952, buried in his hometown Berri Cemetery and was on the WW1 honour roll in the Berri Memories Gates Oval. His bravery will always be recognised and respected.


ANZAC Spirit                                                      

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Anzac Day (25 April 1915) marked and recognized the day of the Gallipoli campaign. On 25 April 1915, around 4:30 in the morning, the ANZAC corps landed into Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli peninsula. Instead of landing onto Gaba Tepe, they landed on Ari Burnu. They were utterly confused with the landscape, and it was hard for them to see the enemies because of the dark environment. They fought to hold a triangular piece of land against the Turkish soldiers. Within a day, almost 1700 casualties were evacuated from the place now known as Anzac Cove. The Anzac spirit was passed on after that campaign, where Australian and New Zealand soldiers shared common positive qualities that a soldier should have.   


Being an ‘Anzac’ meant that one had served on Gallipoli. ANZAC stands for positive qualities that the Australian and New Zealand soldiers showed in the war. ANZAC Spirit qualities include: endurance, courage, bravery, ingenuity, mateship and good humour. 

McCreanor reflected the ANZAC Spirit through doing his duty, determination, courage and commitment. He showed doing his duty and commitment by joining the force and going to World War One. He served and contributed to the country, putting his life on the line, was faced unknown dangers and was separated from his family. He reflected determination and courage by deciding to walk back along the trenches for 5 miles the long way around, which might have saved his life. 

In the Australian army, there was no such thing as sentenced to death like the British did. If a soldier was in the British army and got caught sleeping on their duties, they would be sentenced to death. However, the Australian army showed the ANZAC Spirit of mateship and the most serious sentence would be fining them.   





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