Patrick (Patty) CURRIE

Poppy

CURRIE, Patrick

Service Number: 4755
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd Division Medium and Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries, AIF
Born: Parramattta, 1889
Home Town: Kangaroo Valley, Shoalhaven Shire, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farm labourer for Jack Schreiber
Died: Killed In Action, To Be Determined, Hebuterne France, 30 March 1918
Cemetery: Gommecourt British Cemetery No.2, Hebuterne, France
Near Albert. Buried alongside two others - Walter Binning and Wallace Broom killed at the same time when their mortar misfired., Gommecourt British Cemetery No 2, Gommecourt, Arras, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Dubbo Memorial Drive & Rose Garden, Kangaroo Valley War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

28 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 4755, 15th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '11' embarkation_place: Brisbane embarkation_ship: HMAT Commonwealth embarkation_ship_number: A73 public_note: ''
28 Mar 1916: Embarked Private, SN 4755, 15th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Commonwealth, Brisbane
30 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4755, 2nd Division Medium and Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries, AIF, German Spring Offensive 1918

Boss, I've signed up today.

Patrick (Patty) Currie had been labouring at Jack Schreiber's farm on the Upper Kangaroo Valley Road at the time he decided to enlist. He appeared at the farmhouse doorstep one morning in early September 1915 and announced to Jack:
"Boss, I've signed up today."
Patty then travelled north and took the oath at Toowoomba in Queensland on 22 September. He was 26 years of age and had been born in Parramatta NSW in 1889.
He embarked from Brisbane on 28 March 1916 on the HMAT Commonwealth having been assigned to C Company of the 15th Battalion, a Queensland unit.
David Beacom, also of the Valley and with the 25th Battalion was also on board. After three months of training in Egypt Patty entered France at Etaples on 24 September 1916. Quickly overcome by the extreme weather conditions he contracted influenza and was hospitalised for two weeks before re-joining the battalion at two weeks later.
He was then transferred to the 4th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery (LTMB) in mid January and served continually in the field for the year, still coupled to the 15th Battalion. On 11 April 1917 he survived the disastrous attack at Bullecourt where the Australians suffered 3289 casualties. Postponed 24 hours previously the Australians were forced to evacuate from their staging positions in full view of the enemy. A snow storm mercilessly covered their movement. Tanks that were to spearhead the attack broke down or were knocked out. Three of the LTMB crews were wiped out when the German artillery could bring their guns to bear. Many elements of the Australian attack got to the German trenches but were soon driven out by a determined counter-attack. No ground was taken. 1116 Australians became prisoners of war.
The 15th Battalion was also was thrown into the desperate fight to stop the German advance known as Operation Michael in late March 1918, . Patty was moved with the mortar unit into the vicinity of Hebuterne on 26 March as word was received that the Germans were within a few kilometres and advancing towards their position.
30 March was a cold and wet day. The unit spent the day preparing with the 15th as the Germans shelled their position heavily. Currie, LCpl. Binning and Pte. Broom began working the mortar to harass the approaching Germans.
The Battalion Diary records that during this work:
"A premature burst during the 15th Bn stunt killed LCpl Binning and Ptes. Broome and Currie."
It would appear that a malfunction of the mortar shell caused the round to explode in the mortar tube killing all those working the weapon.
All three are buried in the Gommecourt British Cemetery 8 miles north of Albert.
Back at the farm Jack Schreiber was opening mail in May 1918 when he suddenly went quiet and pale. The letter bore news of Patty's death in France.

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