Robert Owen CONNELL

CONNELL, Robert Owen

Service Number: QX32209
Enlisted: 12 May 1942
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd/12th Infantry Battalion
Born: Wondai, Queensland, Australia , 10 September 1922
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Killed in Action, New Guinea, 21 January 1944, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Lae War Cemetery
F A 3
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Monto War Memorial, Shire of Monto War Memorial, Townsville 2/12th Battalion Roll of Honour
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World War 2 Service

3 Sep 1939: Involvement Private, QX32209
12 May 1942: Enlisted
12 May 1942: Enlisted Australian Military Forces (WW2) , Private, QX32209, 2nd/12th Infantry Battalion
21 Jan 1944: Discharged

The Connell Family at Wooroolin

William Connell married Florence Reilly at Kingaroy on 25 May 1911. William worked on the Rail Roads as a Lengthsman or Ganger as did his father.
William & Florence had 7 children – Nellie B 1911, Edward b 1913, Florence B 1915, William B 1917, Ailsa B 1920, George B 1922 & Robert B 1924.
William was living at Wooroolin when he enlisted in the Australian Army on 8 Sep 1916 and is listed on the Wooroolin WW11 Honour Board. He served in France, was listed as missing in Action but found to be a POW in Germany. He was returned to Australia on 3 Mar 1919. Whilst he was in France his eldest daughter Nellie died and his son William was born! What a horrendous time for his wife Florence.
William & Florence returned to Wooroolin after the end of WW1. Their children were registered at Wooroolin School.
• Edward – Pupil No 435 in Jan 1919
• Florence, known as Chrissie, - Pupil No 487 on 24 Jan 1921. Chrissie died on 27 Oct 1925. I have not found any articles about cause of death!
• William, known as Bill, Pupil No 528 on 26 Jun 1922.
• Ailsa – Pupil No 582 on 19 Aug 1925
• George – Pupil no 621 on 23 Feb 1927
• Owen – Pupil No 676 on 12 Feb 1930 and left in Apr 1930 when the family moved to Monto
3 of these children are in the 1928 Wooroolin School photo shared by Joyce Horne a couple of years ago – William, Ailsa and George. They are all mentioned in the 2001 booklet From Federation to Future, pages 14 & 15 celebrating the 100th year of school at Wooroolin. Bill & Ailsa are also in the 1926 school photo on age 14. I wonder where this family lived in Wooroolin. Probably near the railway Station!
The photo of WOOROOLIN FOOTBALL CLUB. Senior Premiers, 1927 shared by Joyce Horne in Feb 2020 includes W Connell. The family moved to Monto in 1930 where William continued to work for the Railroads.
WW11 had major ramification for this family. All 5 of the living children of William & Florence! Even William Snr enrolled in the VDC.
William Connell Snr enlisted in the Australian Military Forces (Army WW2), Private, SN Q208007 on 25 May 1942 at Monto and was discharged on 2 May 1944
Edward David Connell, born 7 Jun 1913 at Kingaroy, enlisted at Monto on 27 May 1940, QX5335 and was Killed in Action on 14 Dec 1942 in New Guinea. He is listed on the Monto WW11 Honour Board and the Australian war Memorial. He is buried at Port Moresby (Bomana) Memorial, Pilgrims Way, Port Moresby. The VWMA has photos etc about him.
The newspaper article in TRUTH TO TELL (1943, February 7) p. 14. States: 'Let me tell you about Ned Connell, of Monto, Queensland. Ned was wounded, running ahead of his mates, right under the nose of an enemy, machine-gun nest. As his pals wriggled forward to get him, he kept crying out 'Keep back! Stay where you are! Don't come near me! Get back— leave me!' They kept making toward him, but he knew they would be killed if they crossed to him SO, WHEN NED FOUND THEY WOULDN'T GO 'BACK, HE JUMPED UP AND THREW HIMSELF ON TO THE SPITTING BARREL OF THE GUN, DYING SO THAT HIS PALS WOULD LOCATE THE GUN AND REALISE THEIR OWN DANGER. THAT, I THINK, IS THE BRAVEST THING I'VE EVER KNOWN. - --
Joyce Horne also shared an article from an unknown Newspaper article about this brave Wooroolin Man.

George Stewart Connell, born 23 Feb 1922 at Wondai, enlisted at Monto on 22 May 1941. QX24290, and served in the 2nd/5th Armoured Regiment. He was discharged on 22 Sep 1943.

William Eugene Connell, born 28 Jun 1917 at Brisbane, enlisted on 27 Jul 1940. QX10902, and served in the General / Motor Transport Companies. He was discharged on 4 Dec 1945.

Robert Owen Connell, born 10 Sep 1922 at Wondai, enlisted 12 May 1942, QX32209, and served in the 2nd/12th Infantry Battalion. He was Killed in Action on 21 January 1944, aged 21 years, in New Guinea. He is listed on Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Monto War Memorial, Shire of Monto War Memorial, Townsville 2/12th Battalion Roll of Honour. He is buried at Lae War Cemetery, Memorial Ave, LAE.
Ailsa Myrtle Connell, born 10 Feb 1920 at Wondai married Mervyn John Sharpe on 17 Feb 1942. Mervyn had enlisted at Monto on 29 May 1941 QX35183 (Q105802) in the 2/9 AUSTRALIAN INFANTRY BATTALION. Mervyn was discharged on 11 Jan 1946.
William Connell died 30 May 1965 and his wife joined him a year later. I think they are buried at Bundaberg. William Connell is remembered on a Plaque in Queensland Garden of Remembrance.
This story evolved when I started looking at the 1928 Wooroolin School photo and realised a very large percentage of them would have been affected by WW11 in some way. That story still being worked on.

Lest We Forget 

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