William Cornelius DONOVAN


DONOVAN, William Cornelius

Service Number: 2793
Enlisted: 9 July 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Port Pirie, South Australia, 14 February 1896
Home Town: Port Pirie, Port Pirie City and Dists, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Motor Driver
Died: Killed in Action, France, 13 August 1916, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Adelaide Australian Harbours Board WW1 Roll of Honour, Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Birkenhead WW1 Harbors Board Employees Memorial, Port Pirie Oval WW1 Memorial Gates, Villers-Bretonneux Memorial (Australian National Memorial - France)
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World War 1 Service

9 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2793, Keswick, South Australia
21 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2793, 16th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
21 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2793, 16th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Star of England, Adelaide
13 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2793, 48th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Help us honour William Cornelius Donovan's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.



Mr. T. Donovan, of Port Pirie West, has received the sad news that his only son, Private W. C. Donovan, had been killed in action. Private Donovan, who enlisted from Port Pirie, served on Gallipoli, after which he spent six months in Egypt. He then went to France. He was 20 years of age, and was employed by the Harbors Board. He was well liked by all who knew him. Private Donovan was reported killed just 12 months after the day he left Adelaide." - from the Adelaide Chronicle 07 Oct 1916 (nla.gov.au)


Biography contributed by Julianne Ryan

Born: 14 February 1896 in Port Pirie, South Australia
(SA Births 1842 - 1906 Book: 579 Page: 389 District: Cla.)

Father Thomas C DONOVAN (b. 21/07/1860 Tinmath, SA - d. 06/06/1942)
Mother Emily Donovan (nee AGETT, b. 10/06/1859 Apoinga, SA - d. 16/6/1947),
he lived with his parents at  Fourth Street, Port Pirie, South Australia on enlisting.

Isabella May McBride (nee Donovan)
   b. 21/09/1884 Solomontown, Port Pirie, SA
   m. 29/10/1904 Edward James McBride
   d. 1960 - buried in: West Terrace Cemetery
       Catholic Western Ground, Row: EE; Site # 187

Olive Mary Flanagan (nee Donovan)
   b.  10/10/1886 Port Pirie, SA
   m. 22/07/1908 John James Flanagan
   d.  03/02/1966 Osborne, SA

Emily Farrant (nee Donovan)
   b.  1889
   m. 20/10/1909  Frank Lindsay Farrant

Thomas Cornelius Clarence Donovan
   b.  04/08/1892 Port Pirie, SA
   d.  09/12/1892 Port Pirie, SA

Gladys Evelyn Donovan
   b.  29/06/1893 Port Pirie, SA

Previous service:  Senior Cadets H Company, 81st Battalion
                           Citizen Forces 'C' Company, 81st infantry

03/07/1915  Father Thomas Donovan gave written permission for William to join WWI

William was described on enlisting as 19 years  6 months of age; 6' 1/4" tall; 152 lbs;
fair complexion; blue eyes; brown hair; Church of England; Tattoos both forearms

09/07/1915  enlisted into WWI at Keswick, SA

21/09/1915  embarked Outer Harbour, SA, onboard HMAT A15 Star Of England
                   as a Private with 16th Battalion, 9th Reinforcement

04/11/1915  embarked to join Mediterannean Expeditionary Forces, ex Alexandria

13/11/1915  taken on strength, Gallipoli, ANZAC

05/12/1915  sick with Diptheria - admitted 4th Australian Field Ambulance
                   discharged to 16th Casualty Clearing Station
11/12/1915  severe Diptheria - admited to 19th General Hospital
01/01/1916  admitted to Convalescent Camp, Alexandria
13/01/1916  discharged to Base Depot, Mustapha

03/03/1916  transferred to 48th Infantry Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir

02/06/1916  proceeded to join British Expeditionary Forces, onboard HMT Caledonia,
                   ex Alexandria
09/06/1916  disembarked into Marseilles, France

13/08/1916  killed in action, in the field, France

No known grave

His name is commemorated on:
- the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France
- the South Australian Harbors Board WWI Memorial, Port Adelaide, SA
- Panel 145 at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT.

Medals:       1914/15 Star (15785); British War medal (23242); Victory medal (23073)
                  Memorial Plaque and Scroll (316435)

Submitted by Julianne T Ryan.  15/04/2017.  Lest we forget.