Florance McCarthy MCGILL

Poppy

MCGILL, Florance McCarthy

Service Numbers: 861, 710
Enlisted: 16 August 1914, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Second Lieutenant
Last Unit: 19th Infantry Battalion
Born: Bethanga, Victoria, January 1892
Home Town: Bethanga, Towong, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Coal lumper/Clerk
Died: Died of wounds, France, 29 June 1916
Cemetery: Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

16 Aug 1914: Enlisted Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Forces (New Guinea 1914), Private, SN 861, 1st Infantry Battalion, Naval and Military Forces - Special Tropical Corps, Sydney, New South Wales
19 Aug 1914: Embarked Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Forces (New Guinea 1914), Private, SN 861, 1st Infantry Battalion, Naval and Military Forces - Special Tropical Corps, HMAT Berrima, Sydney
9 Feb 1915: Discharged Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Forces (New Guinea 1914), Private, SN 861, 1st Infantry Battalion, Naval and Military Forces - Special Tropical Corps
16 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 710, Liverpool, New South Wales
25 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 710, 19th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Melbourne
25 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 710, 19th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
29 Jun 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 19th Infantry Battalion

Great Nephew Remembers a Hero

I first discovered Florance a number of years ago through my mother who was a niece. She didn't pass on much to us other than he was a
relative who was known as "Boy" and who had died. He was a brother of her father. With the assistance of a cousin I did manage to track down military records and some of his story relating to his involvement in the First World War. What little I was able to find made a huge impact on me. In 2010 I was as far as I know the first member of the extended family to visit his grave and pay homage, a time frame of some ninety four years. I did this trip alone and it made a huge impression upon me which still resonates today. In 2014 I returned again with a school group and was able to pay my respects, this time accompanied by an interested and highly respectful group of students who took him as one of their own. Each of those students was paying tribute to a soldier through the Western Front as part of their History studies and the fact that I had a quite direct association with Florance deepened the impact. This visit and commemoration was photographed and filmed by our group and remains significant to me as too do those students.
In 2016, I had planned to make a return trip to the area with a second cousin, whose father was another of Florance brothers and who apparently had followed his footsteps and enlisted very soon after Florance. Thomas, the brother, survived the war and returned to Australia. His son, who I discovered only because we were both trying to find more about our family, was going with me, along with an uncle. Unfortunately, my uncle became very ill and passed away approximately six weeks before we departed. My new found second cousin also missed the trip when his wife was struck by a vehicle and taken to hospital the day before departure. Luckily for me the wife of a cousin, who was the son of the recently deceased uncle, was already in Europe meeting up with her own father in Germany. We arranged to meet
in Bailleul on June 29 and together go to the cemetery to celebrate the centenary of Florance's death. Together we celebrated his life and the significance to us passing on the messages from my uncle and cousin. To be there with someone from our family on the day was extremely significant and meaningful. A memory that will never fade. My second cousin was able in early October of 2019 to finally get to the site and commemorate his uncle, something which he says was so important. At present I have plans to again return to this now special place and continue to celebrate this once forgotten hero and family member. Meanwhile, I will continue to research and discover more of his life and that of the rest of my grandfathers family of which we know so little, even today.
RIP Florance

Eric Toome

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Border Morning Mail & Riverine Times 18.7.1916


Lieutenant Florance McCarthy McGill, fourth son of Mr. J. McGill, Bethanga, died on June 29 of wounds received during the earlier fighting in which the Australian Forces took part in France. Prior to joining the A.I.F., the late Lieutenant McGill, who had proved himself a gallant and efficient officer, served through the New Guinea campaign. During the fighting there, he was severely wounded, and was invalided home. By the time he had recovered, the New Guinea campaign was over, and he at once enlisted in the A.I.F., and, with his unit, took part in the strenuous Gallipoli campaign. A few weeks after the arrival of the Australians in France, he was reported severely wounded in the chest, and a couple of days ago his relatives at Bethanga were advised of his death.

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Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Florance McCarthy McGILL was born in 1892 in Bethanga, Victoria

His parents were James McGILL and Dora McCARTHY