Louis Warnecke MCNAMARA MM, MID

Poppy

MCNAMARA, Louis Warnecke

Service Numbers: 71, 71A
Enlisted: 19 August 1914, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 1st Divisional Signal Company
Born: Nuriootpa, South Australia, 13 December 1887
Home Town: Semaphore, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Prince Alfred College and University of Adelaide
Occupation: Electrical engineer
Died: Died of wounds, Jeancourt, France, 18 September 1918, aged 30 years
Cemetery: Cerisy-Gailly French National Cemetery, France
Memorials: Adelaide Elder Smith & Co Limited WW1 Honour Board, Adelaide National War Memorial, Adelaide University of Adelaide WW1 Honour Roll, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Gilberton Soldiers Memorial Swimming Reserve, Williamstown Mt Crawford Honour Roll, Williamstown Uniting Church Stained Glass Windows
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 71, Adelaide, South Australia
22 Sep 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 71, 3rd Field Company Engineers, HMAT Geelong, Melbourne
22 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 71, 3rd Field Company Engineers, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 71A, 3rd Field Company Engineers, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
7 Jun 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 71, 1st Australian Wireless Squadron, Battle of Messines
31 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 71, 1st Divisional Signal Company, Third Ypres
26 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Sapper, SN 71, 1st Divisional Signal Company, 2nd Passchendaele
18 Sep 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 71A, 1st Divisional Signal Company, "The Last Hundred Days"

Letter from Professor Bragg to McNamara

My Dear McNamara,
I was very sorry indeed to miss you on Saturday. I hoped to see you before I went down to the National Physical Laboratory. I want to thank you very much for all the good works you did for us. I do not know how I should have got through with the selections of all those materials, if you had not been there to help. I wonder if there is any chance of your coming back? I am enclosing a little letter to your medical officer, in the hopes that it may soften his heart. My wife tells me that you had the bad luck to lose your wrist watch at your lodgings. Tell me at once if this is so, because we should like to make it good to you, as a token of our appreciation of help you have given, which has meant so much for the undertaking in which my son is engaged.
With kind regards,
Yours, truly,
Bragg.

Read more...

Awarded the Military Medal

“For most efficient work and devotion to duty.

“On the 14th March 1917 at Grevillers he personally installed a power buzzer in that village when it was under constant shell fire.

“On the 25th March, in connection with the attack on Lagnicourt by the 7th Aus. Inf. Brigade, he was the operator who attempted to establish wireless communication with the front line.

“This Sapper has done excellent work in the field since last November, from the first he was a volunteer for carrying a power buzzer forward in an advance, but as no opportunity occurred he has usually managed to be in the most dangerous corners with either a power buzzer amplifier or listening post.”

Read more...
Showing 2 of 2 stories

Biography

Contributed by Nathan Rohrlach of Nuriootpa

Louis David George Warnecke McNamara

“A very game man, absolutely fearless.”

Louis David George Warneke McNamara was born on December the 13th 1887 in Nuriootpa in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. He was the only son of David Joseph McNamara and all of his primary school education was given to him by his father. After much hard work Louis won the Elder Entrance Scholarship to Prince Alfred College, the prestigious all-boys school in Adelaide, in January 1901. It was also there where he gained the Colton medal for chemistry, while in 1905 he won the Old Scholar’s Prize and the Angas Engineering Exhibition Prize.

In January 1906 he entered the University of Adelaide as a science student studying a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He was always in the top class, and he usually came first in all the exams bracketed with Professor Bragg’s son (Professor Bragg was professor at the University of Adelaide at the time, and his son went there too.) Louis McNamara took his degree of a Bachelor of Science in 1909, having gained 16 first classes. He was also awarded the Diploma of Applied Science, and the associateship of the School of Mines. During his university years he was an active member of the Student’s Christian Union and he also won several athletic events. He was a first-class rifle shot, and very capable cricketer.

After leaving University he found a job and began working for the Adelaide Electrical Supply Company as an improver. This job was subsequently followed by practice as an electrical engineer and contractor, before Louis McNamara entered the service of the Adelaide Underwriters as an electrical inspector. By 1914 he was employed in the electrical department of Elder, Smith & Co.

Outside of his job he was working in the choir and Sunday School at St. Luke’s Adelaide and was much loved there by Reverend William Gilbert Marsh. He was also the Secretary of the Forest League, and in this capacity he showed strong characteristics of determination and a hard working attitude.

Louis McNamara was one of the first to respond to the Empire’s call and enlisted on August the 19th, 1914 and was placed in the 3rd Field Company Engineers. He left Adelaide on August the 29th, 1914 and later embarked at Melbourne on HMAT Geelong (A2) on September the 22nd, 1914 bound for Egypt. He served at Al Kantara (Al Qantarah?), on the Suez Canal, and helped by building a pontoon across the 330 metre canal.

Later, Louis McNamara was to be at the landing on Gallipoli and was used as signaller for naval bombardment. He would then spend the next four months on the peninsula with the very dangerous job of surveying sites for new trenches and constructing dummy trenches to draw away the enemy’s fire. In August McNamara contracted Enteric Fever and he was evacuated to  Malta, and transferred to Portsmouth during the months of September and November 1915.

During his recovery he spent several weeks at London University where he met his old master, Professor Bragg. At this time Professor William Lawrence Bragg was engaged in researching and developing a new form of poisonous gas for military purposes. Several times throughout this period Louis McNamara helped Professor Bragg test new substances for his research. In a later letter Professor Bragg writes, “I want to thank you very much for all the good works you did for us. I do not know how I should have got through with the selections of all those materials, if you had not been there to help.”

In June 1916 Louis McNamara was officially discharged from hospital and he rejoined his unit, however, on October the 9th 1916 he transferred to the 1st ANZAC Wireless Section. While serving on the Western Front in March 1917 he was recommended and awarded the Military Medal. The recommendation stated:

“For most efficient work and devotion to duty.

“On the 14th March 1917 at Grevillers he personally installed a power buzzer in that village when it was under constant shell fire.

“On the 25th March, in connection with the attack on Lagnicourt by the 7th Aus. Inf. Brigade, he was the operator who attempted to establish wireless communication with the front line.

“This Sapper has done excellent work in the field since last November, from the first he was a volunteer for carrying a power buzzer forward in an advance, but as no opportunity occurred he has usually managed to be in the most dangerous corners with either a power buzzer amplifier or listening post.” 

On June the 25th 1917 Louis McNamara was again transferred to 1st Division Signal Company, Australian Engineers and continued serving on the Western Front. Then on October the 29th, 1917, while servring at Passchendaele, he was severely affected by mustard gas and went blind. He was admitted to the 3rd Western General Hospital in Cardiff, Wales by November by which time had been blind for nearly a month. In late November, however, he regained his sight.

By late February Louis McNamara had fully recovered and had been discharged was on a boat back to France. On March the 15th, 1918, Louis McNamara officially rejoined the 1st Division Signal Company, Australian Engineers back in France. On the 16th he was promoted to Corporal and then again on the 29th he was promoted to Sergeant and put in charge in of the Wireless Section.

While fighting on the Western Front on September the 18th, 1918, at Jeancourt, McNamara was critically injured with shell wounds to his head and right leg which was also broken. At the time McNamara out been out of the trenches trying to erect an aerial so wireless communication could be made with the front line. He was taken to a nearby field hospital nearby where the doctor who treated him said there would be no hope in him surviving. On the same day (or 19th?) he passed away. He was buried at Cerisy-Gailly French National Cemetery. He was aged 31.

Louis McNamara was mentioned in despatches from Field Marshal Douglas Haig office dated November the 8th, 1918. His M.I.D was also mentioned in the Fifth Supplement, No. 31089, of the London Gazette, dated December the 27th, 1918.   

 Many remembered Louis McNamara (Mac as he was always called by his friends) as, “A very game man, absolutely fearless.” He was also remembered as very dedicated and a “1914 man.”   

Military Medal

Mentioned in Despatches

1914/15 Star: 13122

British War Medal: 278

Victory Medal: 280?

Memorial Plaque: 352569

Read more...