• William Carmody

Army / Flying Corps
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  • Birth

    Kensington, VIC, Australia

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Stories and comments
    • WILLIAM CARMODY- SURVIVOR OF POZIERES
    • Posted by Mapping our Anzacs story, Monday, 4 November 2013

    Private William Brendan Carmody enlisted with the AIF in Melbourne on 15 July 1915(No 2329), and was posted to the 5th Reinforcements, 22nd Battalion on 1 September that year. On 29 September 1915 he embarked from Melbourne, heading for England via the Middle East on RMS Osterley, at which time his rank was Acting Corporal. TheRMS Osterleyweighed 12,129 tons with an average cruise speed of 18 knots or 33.33 kmph. Owned by P O. Having berthed at Fremantle, he failed to return to ship on embarkation. He was found, and scheduled to depart on the Thermoslicles on 13 October. Again, he went missing, and finally embarked on the Runic leaving Fremantle on 29 January 1916, now reassigned and attached to the 13/12th Battalion with a new enlistment number 4215. The HMAT A54Runicweighed 12,490 tons with an average cruise speed of 13 knots or 24.07 kmph. It was owned by the Oceanic SN Co Ltd, Liverpool, and leased by the Commonwealth until 27 November 1917. For his indiscretions he was demoted to Private. He disembarked at Suez on 3 March 1916, a sea journey lasting some 5 weeks, and boarded the H T Transylvania on 29 March 1916 to join the British Expeditionary Force in Alexandria. On 4 April 1916, the ship berthed at Marseilles and he proceeded (marched) to join his unit (12th Battalion) at Etaples, having been taken “on strength”. SS TransylaniaCommisioned as a troopship in May 1915 with accommodation for 200 officers and 2860 men. On 04/05/1917 torpedoed by U63 off Cape Noli (40 miles from Genoa) sank with heavy loss of life. On 24 July 1916 he was involved in the fierce battle of Pozieres, a village in the Somme Valley, where the town was destroyed. In the words of C.W.Bean Imagine a gigantic ash heap, a place where dust and rubbish have been cast for years outside some dry, derelict, God–forsaken up–country township. Imagine some broken–down creek bed in the driest of our dry central Australian districts, abandoned for a generation to the goats, in which the hens have been scratching as long as men can remember. Then take away the hens and the goats and all traces of any living or moving thing. You must not even leave a spider. Put here, in evidence of some old tumbled roof, a few roof beams and tiles sticking edgeways from the ground, and the low faded ochre stump of the windmill peeping over the top of the hill, and there you have Pozières. CEW Bean Letters from France Melbourne, 1917, pp.113–4 Taken in September 1915 prior to embarkation In this battle, Will was shot through the mouth, described as “a severe gunshot wound to the face” with some of the schrapnel passing from one side through his mouth to the other. According to his daughter Pat, he was left in the trench, presumed dead. He was able to crawl back to the Australian line. The wound was serious, and after three weeks in the army hospital in Etaples, he was transferred to the S S Dieppe at Calais, shipped to England and admitted to the 3rd Northern Hospital in Sheffield. After 3 months he was transferred to No 3 Auxiliary Hospital, and then discharged for furlough and sent to various depots in Perham Down, Wareham and Tidworth. If his lack of interest in pursuing a military career following his service was not apparent, his record while convalescing in England removed any such doubt. A series of misdemeanours or “crimes” commenced about three months after his arrival at the hospital, which would suggest Will was on the road to recovery. Over a period of time these included absent without leave(AWOL), neglecting to obey an order, insolence, playing cards after lights out, failing to parade, failing to obey a routine order and being without his identity disc or paybook. He was charged with being absent without leave (AWL) a total of ten times and faced a Court martial proceeding on 4 June 1918, the charge being AWL for a period of 17 days. The proceedings took place at the AIF Bhurtpore Barracks in Tidworth, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. The charge sheet reads as follows; “The accused No 4215 Private W carmody late of 12th battalion AIF now attached to AAMC(Australian Army Medical Corps) Training Depot 2 camp, Parkhouse a soldier of the AIF is charged with absenting himself without leave on 2 May 1918 to 2145 hours 0n 19 May 1019 when he surrendered himself to the Military police at Poole Railway Station.” He pleaded guilty and offered the following statement; “I had a brother in Weymouth who was returning to Australia. He sent me money and asked me to see him. I have served three years. I was in France three months being wounded in the head. I was sent to Weymouth for return to Australia but volunteered for AMC work and was sent to Bulford. I have tried to return to France.” His brother is Matthew who was with the 7th Battalion, and recuperating in Bulford. Will was sentenced to 30 days detention, of which he served 15 days. As a result of the many ‘crimes”, he forfeited many days pay, however on a number of occasions his detentions were reduced on account of good conduct. During the time from August 1916 to May 1917 he was relocated from Depots and Camps in England, until attached for duty with the No 1 ADH (first Australian Dermatological Hospital in Bulford. In February 1918 he was transferred to the Australian Army Medical Corps Training Depot until July 1918 when the embarked from Southampton for Rouelles, France on the Fovant. From here he marched from Riem to Wimereux to the Second Australian General Hospital, and served a reinforcement, and again, taken on strength” in October 1918. In March 1919 he returned to England, spent 6 days AWL for good measure, until embarking for Australia from Devonport in may 1919 aboard the Rio Negro. He arrived in Melbourne on 22 July 1919, returning to the family’s Brighton Street home, and took on work as a labourer.