John Morris (Jack) MCINERNEY


MCINERNEY, John Morris

Service Number: 3832
Enlisted: 13 August 1915, Mount Gambier, South Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Bendigo, Victoria, 2 June 1888
Home Town: Mount Gambier, Mount Gambier, South Australia
Schooling: Mount Gambier Public School
Occupation: Pharmacist (Mt Gambier Hospital)
Died: Killed In Action (Assault On Enemy Position Near Merris), Merris, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France, 28 June 1918, aged 30 years
Cemetery: La Kreule Military Cemetery, Hazebrouck
I. F. 21.
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Mount Gambier RSL Pictorial Honour Roll, Mount Gambier War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

13 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 3832, 10th Infantry Battalion, Mount Gambier, South Australia
15 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3832, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
2 Dec 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 3832, 10th Infantry Battalion, RMS Malwa
23 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 3832, 10th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
18 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 3832, 10th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
1 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 10th Infantry Battalion, Broodseinde Ridge
22 Jan 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 10th Infantry Battalion, Merris (France)

Jack McInerney's war

Jack McInerney's war is described in a remarkable sequence of letters that he wrote to his family and friends in the course of his service. Unfortunately we have none of his correspondence with his sweetheart, Olivia Deane, who enlisted as a nurse and spent most of the war on hospital ships between Australia and Great Britain. Jack's letters were in the possession of the Australian War Memorial, having been given up his brother in the 1920s. Knowledge of them had been lost among Jack's descendants until 1993. The account of the re-discovery of these letters by the McInerney family is eloquently told by his Great Nephew and a key colleague in the genesis of the RSL VIrtual War Memorial, Malcolm McInerney, in the accompanying narrative. Be prepared to be taken on a remarkable but ultimately tragic journey.


“It certainly is a very wicked crowd who live in Cairo.”

With permission of the McInerney family

“It certainly is a very wicked crowd who live in Cairo.”

Sunday Morning. Jan 2nd, 1916.

My Dear Mother,
A mail is closing shortly so I will dash off a small letter to let you know how I am and what I have been doing since you last heard of me. I take it that the last you would know of me was my letter posted at Port Said, though it is quite likely that the boats are running irregularly, this letter will travel with that one. Well we landed at Suez and travelled by train to Cairo, landed there about morning and marched straight to this camp. The camp is called Abassia and is not very old. It is about 4 miles out of Cairo and the city of Heliopolis with the big Australian hospital only a mile away. So you see we are not very far away from places to visit in our spare time. The train line to Cairo is about 3/4 of a mile from the camp, we have to the Flying Corps just at the end of our place and we see aeroplanes up and flying several times each day. There are 7 or 8 big camps around here and big military barracks full of English soldiers, so it easy to feel that there is a war now when you see all the soldiers. I expect that we will be in camp here for at least another two months and I will try next week to get into the training school. It will be good training if I manage to get in.
I have managed to see a good deal of Cairo up to the present but there are big number of spots to be seen that have great interest and must be visited before I leave here. I like the place and its old historic spots very much but it certainly is a very wicked crowd who live in Cairo. The new boys need a lot of watching when they arrive here.
I must get another letter or so off Mother so I will close now. Give my love to all and you need hardly trouble about me for another couple of months at any rate as I will be safe in camp. Tell Norman Cambell to post my Bulletin inside a South Eastern or some other paper, otherwise it will get stolen. The boys all want to read the Bulletin.
Pass this letter onto Auntie Mag and Mac, as I will not write them this time. I am quite well and enjoying myself thoroughly.

All my love, Mother


Fatal Coincidence

It is very likely that the German machine gun that killed Jack McInerney was the one subsequently destroyed by Corporal Phil Davey also of the 10th Battalion, an action for which he was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross.

Biography contributed by Adrianna Tsorakos

John Morris McInerney Biography

Adrianna Tsorakos

John Morris McInerney, (1888-1918) also known as Jack, was born on June the 2nd 1888 in Bendigo, Victoria. Eldest son of Mrs. Elijabeth Ann McInerney and the late John McInerney. The McInerney family moved to Mount Gambier where John attended Mount Gambier Public School. John Morris became a pharmacist after finishing his school education, he later received a job at the Mount Gambier Hospital. John Morris was currently working as a pharmacist during his enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force, at Mount Gambier, South Australia; on the 13th of August 1915 at the age of twenty-seven.

After John's enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force. On the 2nd of December 1915, John embarked on the RMS Malwa with the 10th Battalion. As of the date the 13th of August 1915, John Morris McInerney signed the Australian Imperial Force Attestation paper of persons enlisted for service abroad which states that John was 27 years and 2 months of age, John's height was five foot 10 inches, his weight was 178 lbs which converted to kilograms is 80kg. it also states that John's complexion was dark, his eye colour was blue and his hair was a dark colour. John's religious denomination was Methodist (Christianity).

On the 23rd of July 1916, John Morris McInerney was involved with the 10th Battalion at Pozières. On the 18th of June 1917, John Morris McInerney was promoted corporal, where John and the 10th Battalion involved in the Battle of Passchendaele also known as The Third Battle of Ypres. On the 1st of October 1917, John was promoted to Second Lieutenant. John's involvement with the 10th Infantry Battalion, where the Battle of Broodseinde Ridge was fought near Ypres, Germany. On the 22nd of January 1918, John Morris was promoted to Lieutenant, the 10th Infantry Battalion then re-embarked to Merris, France. 

Nurse Olive Deane was John McInerney's sweetheart. She enlisted into the Army Nursing Service and spent the majority of the period during the war on hospital ships plying between Australia and the United Kingdom. 

Sadly John Morris McInerney was killed in action from an assault on an enemy position on the 28th of June 1918 located at Merris, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. John passed away at aged thirty and he never married. John was buried with full military honors. The cemetery is located at La Kreule Military Cemetery, France. John Morris' headstone lays at I.F.21. in the cemetery. John Morris McInerney's name is located at panel 59 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial. John received three medals during his time serving in the army. These medals are 1914/5 Star, British War Medal, and the Victory Medal. John also has three memorials these are the Adelaide National War Memorial (WWI), Mount Gambier MI War Memorial, and the Mount Gambier PHR 1 RSL Pictorial Honour Roll. 

John (Jack) Morris McInerney (1888-1918) Lest We Forget




John Morris McInerney, 10th Battalion AIF (1888-1918)

“I am continually moving and always finishing a little closer to the cannon’s mouth.”  These words were written by John Morris McInerney, a member of the 10th Battalion Australian Infantry Battalion, during the final stages of the Great War in 1918.  By then John, or Jack as he was called, had been on the Western Front in Flanders for 30 gruelling and traumatic months.  He would not see Australia again.

Jack McInerney was born in Bendigo, Victoria on the 2nd June 1888.  His mother was widowed after only three years of marriage when her husband died of typhoid in 1890.

Elizabeth moverd her small family comprising John and brother George to Mount Gambier where Jack grew up and in later years trained as a pharmacist.

He was employed at the Mount Gambier hospital, and was well known and well regarded around the town.