Eugene KELLY

KELLY, Eugene

Service Number: 1057
Enlisted: 26 November 1915, Blackboy Hill
Last Rank: Sapper
Last Unit: 3rd Tunnelling Company (inc. 6th Tunnelling Company)
Born: Manoora, South Australia, Australia, 1872
Home Town: Booborowie, Goyder, South Australia
Schooling: Booborowie, South Australia, Australia
Occupation: Miner
Died: Killed in Action, France, 10 April 1918
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Burra District WW1 Honor Roll, Burra Fallen Soldiers Memorial, Manoora Institute Supreme Sacrifice Roll, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France), Willalo & District WW1 Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

26 Nov 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Blackboy Hill
20 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, 1057, Mining Corps, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '6' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Ulysses embarkation_ship_number: A38 public_note: ''
20 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, 1057, Mining Corps, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '6' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Ulysses embarkation_ship_number: A38 public_note: ''
20 Feb 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Sapper, 1057, Mining Corps, HMAT Ulysses, Sydney
20 Feb 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Sapper, 1057, Mining Corps, HMAT Ulysses, Sydney
11 Apr 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, 1057, 3rd Tunnelling Company (inc. 6th Tunnelling Company), German Spring Offensive 1918, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 1057 awm_unit: 3rd Australian Tunnelling Company awm_rank: Sapper awm_died_date: 1918-04-11

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Biography contributed by nick kilner

Immediately prior to his death Eugene Kelly had been working for a number of weeks in and around Armentieres on the river Lys as part of the northern detachment of 3rd Australian Tunnelling Coy. The unit was under the command of Lt Neil Campbell and had been instructed to build gun pits to reinforce the reserve line in that area,which they had been doing since late Febuary. On the night of the 9th April 1918 the detachment were ordered to march to Erquinghem-Lys where they were to begin digging machine gun emplacements. Arriving at approximately 11.00pm they set camp in a field south of the village which bordered the railway line. The village was shelled heavily during the night and at around 7.00am the wave of german troops who had pushed through the line to the south of Armentieres came into view. Operation Georgette was in full swing. The detachment remained in its position fighting as part of 'X' Battalion until around 7.30pm that evening. Once it was realised that the Germans had broken through further west of their position and were in danger of surrounding all those still fighting south of the river, a general order to retreat was given. Its was during this retreat that Eugene Kelly was shot through the head, killing him instantly. His body was subsequently cleared from the field of battle by German soldiers and buried in a mass grave along with eigtheen other british casualties. His date of death has been incorrectly recorded on Red Cross documents as the 11th April. This is likely due to the fact that the roll call from which he was first stated as being missing was not taken until the early hours of the 11th.

Eugenes younger brother Francis was killed during the battle of Beersheba whilst serving with the 3rd Australian Light Horse


Biography contributed by Virtual Australia

Eugene Kelly’s Family


Father – Michael 1836-1917 Buried in Burra cemetery


Mother – Elizabeth Kelly (ne Murphy) 1846-1911 Buried in Burra cemetery



Joseph 1874-1950 Married Margret in Broken Hill June 1914. Buried in Booborowie Cemetery along with his wife.


Francis 1888- 1917 KIA at Beersheba 3rd Light Horse


Denis Ignatius 1885-1950 Married Grace Joannah Sullivan Aug 3rd 1921 in Booborowie . Buried in Laura SA. They had one son John Kelly 1927-1976. He is buried in Penington, Adelaide died July 1976


Timothy 1865-1924 Unmarried. Killed by a horse falling on him. Buried in Burra


William Thomas 1867-1885 Buried in Burra


Steven 1879-1959 Married Susan. Buried in Cheltenham SA.


James Joseph 1883-1959 Married, wife unknown. Buried in Perth Aug 1959.


Michael 1866-1937 Lived at Black Springs most of his life, never married. Buried in Booborowie cemetery


John 1870-1902 Unmarried. Buried in Burra


Austin Ambrose 1877-1958 No other information available


Sister - Dorothy Winifred (became Dorothy Hogan) 1881-1978


Courtesy of Nick Kilner



Eugene was one of 11 boys and 1 girl from a farming family in the mid north of South Australia near Booborowie. Eugene went to Western Australia in search of work and spent some time in the Kalgoorlie area as a miner. Eugene was not married. 


Austin Kelly married Julia Quinn in 1913. They are both buried at Centennial Park Cemetery, Pasadena, Adelaide, South Australia. 

Dorothy Winifred Kelly married James Francis Hogan 1880. She is buried at Condowie Cemetery, 8 kms from Snowtown in the mid north of South Australia.

William Kelly married Agnes Mary Ryan in 1913. He and his wife are buried at North Brighton Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia.


Several photos of Eugene in his mining rescue uniform are in the Australian National War Memorial. He was killed near Ypres France during engagement with a German unit and whilst reports exist of soldiers seeing him killed his body was not able to recovered for burial.