Wynum Groom McDonald HENNESSY


HENNESSY, Wynum Groom McDonald

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: 11 October 1915
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 6th Infantry Battalion
Born: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 4 September 1895
Home Town: Richmond (V), Yarra, Victoria
Schooling: Wesley College, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Occupation: Military Student/Gentleman
Died: Killed in action, France, 10 February 1917, aged 21 years
Cemetery: Bazentin-le-Petit Military Cemetery
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World War 1 Service

11 Oct 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 6th Infantry Battalion
23 Nov 1915: Involvement Lieutenant, 6th Infantry Battalion
23 Nov 1915: Embarked Lieutenant, 6th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ceramic, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

2nd Lt Wynum Groom McDonald HENNESSY

Today, through the silence of the old battlefields of the Somme, are heard the songs of the birds which flew over a world at war more than a hundred years ago, they flew over the trenches in which a whole generation of men fought and fell under shells and bullets.They were young and brave and did their duty with admirable courage until their last breath through the fields of poppies in which so much blood was shed and which, today, silent and eternal witnesses of their courage, of their lives and their sacrifices, grow between the rows of their graves.in silence and in peace, they rest side by side under the shadows of their crosses, always united and standing with pride, they watch over the lands which they defended at the cost of their lives, carrying through the wind, their whispers, their voices, the echoes of the past in which they tell us the story of their lives and which ask us, who are lucky enough to live in a world in peace for which they gave their today and their lives that we remember them so that they never cease to live,and today, it is one of these young men who fell and gave his life on the battlefields of the Somme whom I would like to honor with gratitude, I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Second Lieutenant Wynnum Groom McDonald Hennessey who fought in the 6th Australian Infantry Battalion and was killed in action 104 years ago, on February 10, 1917 at the age of 21 on the Somme front.

Wynnum Groom McDonald Hennessey was born on September 4, 1895 in Sydney, New South Wales and was the son of John David Henessey and Janie Henessey(née Robertson), of Twickenham House, 97, Bridge Road, Richmond, Victoria, Australia. Wynnum was educated at Wesley College, Melbourne, and he was prior to the war an officer in the Richmond area, under Captain Dwyer. Later he became a 1st lieutenant in the 55th Collingwood Infantry, and after a course of training at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, was made a captain of machine guns in that regiment.

Enlisted on October 6, 1915 in Sydney in the 6th Australian Infantry Battalion, 12th Reinforcement of the Australian Imperial Forces, he filled various military positions in Melbourne training both privates and non-commissioned officers and for a time acting as adjutant at the Ascot Vale camp. Wynnum then embarked with his unit from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A40 Ceramic on November 23, 1915 and sailed for Tel-El-Kebir, Egypt, where he arrived on April 17, 1916 and where he was in the front trenches.

A month later, on May 31, 1916, he embarked on board "Huntsgreen" and sailed for Plymouth, England, where he was disembarked on June 12, 1916 and three months later, on September 29, 1916,he was appointed musketry officer to the 2nd Training Battalion at Perham Downs, Salisbury Plain, and given a staff of officers for the musketry training of the battalion.Two months later, on November 30, 1916, Wynnum embarked from London and sailed for France and was disembarked with his unit at Etaples on December 1 and was sent to the Somme front on December 13.

Wynnum soon discovered the horrors of the battlefield and fought in horrible conditions, in cold and mud, he fell ill and on December 24, 1916, he was admitted to the 1st Australian Field Ambulance suffering from pleurisy and bronchitis and was then admitted to the 1st Anzac Rest Station.After recovering, Wynnum joined, a little over a week later, on January 2, 1917, his battalion in the sector of Bazentin but unfortunately, it was near Bazentin that a month later, on February 10, 1917 , he met his fate and was killed in action while in the trenches by a german artillery barrage following a raid by the 6th Battalion, he was 21 years old.

Today, Second Lieutenant Wynnum Groom McDonald Hennessey rests in peace with his men, friends and brothers in arms at Bazentin-Le-Petit Military Cemetery, Somme, and his grave bears the following inscription: "Loved and esteemed by all who knew him changed but not destroyed ".
Here is the obituary of Second Lieutenant Wynnum Groom McDonald Henessey which was published on March 7, 1917 in the Brisbane Courier:
"Another young Duntroon officer has fallen at the Front. News has been received that the Rev David Hennessey’s youngest son, Lieutenant Wynnum Groom McDonald Hennessey was killed in action in France on February 10. He was 21 years of age, and had the promise of a distinguished military career.
Educated at Wesley College, Melbourne, he was prior to the war an officer in the Richmond area, under Captain Dwyer. Later he became a 1st lieutenant in the 55th Collingwood Infantry, and after a course of training at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, was made a captain of machine guns in that regiment.
On the outbreak of war he enlisted as in officer in the Australian Imperial Forces, and filled various military positions in Melbourne training both privates and non-commissioned officers and for a time acting as adjutant at the Ascot Vale camp. He had an engaging disposition and personality, which made him many friends. A fellow-officer writes: "I had the opportunity, through long military acquaintance with him to note his stirling qualities. He was greatly respected by all the N.C.O.'s and men of the original C Company, and I am sure every one of them will be deeply moved to hear of his death. He was a straightforward, capable and conscientious officer, of many sterling qualities, and will be a great loss to his country."
In Egypt he was in the front trenches for months and afterwards was appointed musketry instructor to his battalion, when he had charge of the construction of a great rifle range in the desert. On being ordered to England he was at once recognised as an efficient young officer, and was sent by headquarters to take a special course of study at the Hythe Musketry School in Kent; after which he was appointed musketry officer to the 2nd Training Battalion at Perham Downs, Salisbury Plain, and given a staff of officers for the musketry training of the battalion. He remained here for six months, but, anxious to join his two brothers, who were Imperial officers in France, he obtained a transfer to the Front.
He was there only a short time when his battalion took part in an assault on the German trenches. Describing this in a letter he said "I have been through some wonderful adventures and seen some remarkable sights but am quite well in spite of the Germans’ shot and shell. My Battalion has done its share for the present, and we are now out of action and safe back in "billets’ resting."
Through exposure to cold and rain, however, he had contracted bronchitis and the doctor sent him into hospital for a week so that he might have rest in a comfortable bed. On New Year’s Day he described himself as out of hospital "well, and fit for anything." A month later, at the head of his men he made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of righteousness. It will interest many to know that some years ago he was connected with the Collins Street Congregational Sunday School, Melbourne, and often assisted his father in similar work.

On his mother's side he was the descendant of distinguished military men, known in Scotch history as the McDonalds, who were Lords of the Isles, some of whom, in the Crimea, were also cut down in the flower of their youth. The Rev David Hennessey is the author of The Outlaw and other work of fiction, and is also Sunday School Convenor for the Congregational Union of Australia and New Zealand. He was stationed in Queensland for some time. Another of his sons, now in France, served with Botha in Africa."

Wynnum, you who at the dawn of your youth and a life full of promise paid the supreme sacrifice, I would like, from the bottom of my heart and with deep respect to say thank you for all that you have done and gave for us. Young and courageous, you have without any hesitation and valiantly answered the call of duty under the Australian sun and under the banner of humanity to join the ranks of a whole nation, of a whole generation that stood courageously to defend the universal values of peace and freedom.In united ranks, smiles on their faces, with faith and confidence, they left the warmth and love of their homes, families and friends and together they walked to help the people of France and their brothers in arms, their eyes and their hearts full of determination, they moved forward with conviction and bravery towards the battlefields of the Somme, towards their destinies and side by side, in the trenches, they showed admirable courage, an incredible spirit of camaraderie in the face of difficulties and despite the horrors of war, they fought with exceptional dedication.All under the same uniform, they fought together in the same terrible conditions, in the mud, in the cold, in the water and the blood, they served and fought for the same causes under rains of bullets which did not make distinction and who mowed down, under the incessant fire of machine guns, millions of young men who fell among the fields of poppies, men full of will, hope and life who, after a last act of courage, collapsed in barbed wire, weapons in hand and whose blood flooded the battlefields of the Somme, men led by courageous officers like you Wynnum and who were sadly among the first to fall, leading their men courageously and fearlessly through the no man's land.Brave among the bravest and facing death, they moved forward under rains of shells, meter by meter at the cost of terrible losses under storms of fire and steel, in furious hand-to-hand combat, bayonets forward in attacks as brave as they were murderous in which so many lives were lost in bloodbaths. Under clouds of poisoned gas, the war tried to steal the humanity of these young men who lived day and night in the fury of a world at war which became more and more murderous and many kept forever the traces and the sufferings that they lived in their thoughts, many men never returned home but those who returned faced another war that remained forever in their thoughts, in their nightmares that haunted them.all these men without exception were real heroes, all did not receive medals but all served and fought with the same bravery and all showed acts of courage and many today rest in peace in the flowery and serene cemeteries of the Somme, in the silence that only the birds come to disturb.Side by side, united as they were in life and on the battlefields, they stand proudly between the rows of their graves, in silence, their eyes turned towards us who are gathered around them to honor their memory, we hold in our hands the flame of Remembrance, of their legacy, a torch that I would always carry high and proud to shed light on the history of these men so that for eternity, their names and their faces will never be forgotten and so that in the love of our hearts and the tenderness of our grateful thoughts, they never cease to live.My admiration, my respect, my gratitude will always belong to them and I will always watch over them with the same devotion with which they served and gave their lives and did so much for France, a country, which will be, now and forever theirs and will be forever, each of them, my heroes, my boys of the somme.Thank you so much wynnum, for everything we will never forget you.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.