• Allan Foster McConnell

Army / Flying Corps
  • 14th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 5th Australian Divisional Cyclist Company
  • Private

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  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Birth

    Victoria 3277, Australia

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Stories and comments
    • McCONNELL, Allan Foster, MBE
    • Posted by FrevFord, Thursday, 17 August 2017

    Born on the 15th of March 1892 at Mepunga near Allansford, Vic – son of William Owen McCONNELL and Jane May MOORE, who married in Vic in 1884 William, a Grazier, born Co Antrim, died in the Melbourne Hospital 13/11/1905 In 1914 Jane was employed as a Laundress and resident in Camperdown, as were Foster and his brothers Alec, Herbert and Stanley Living Grassmere, via Warrnambool in 1915 Siblings: Hugh b.1885 – d.1970; Herbert William b.1887 (Coachdriver); *Stanley Crawford John b.1889 Warrnambool (Labourer) – WW1: Pte 4556, enl 22/7/1915 – disch 28/1/1916 MU (didn’t sail) – d.1956; *Alexander James (Alec) b.1890 – WW1: Gnr 2689, 14th FAB – d,1967; *Ernest b.1893 Allansford – Casemaker – WW1: Pte 2264, 3rd Camel Regt / 4th LH; Gordon Albert b.1896 – d.1898 (2); Rupert Albert Roy b.24/9/1901 – WW2 – d.1979 Presbyterian Labourer WW1: Pte 4557 enlisted 26/7/1915 and embarked 18/2/1916 on the A70 Ballarat with the 14th Reinforcements of the 14th Battalion, disembarking Egypt 22/3/1916 Transferred to 5th Division Cyclists 16/4/1916 Embarked at Alexandria to join the B.E.F. 17/6/1916 and disembarked Marseilles, France27/6/1916 On the 20/7/1916 whilst travelling with a fatigue party en route to Abeele, Foster was involved in an accident with a shying horse, which left him bruised and shaken and his bicycle unrideable – he was sent by vehicle back to billets Detached for duty with a P.U. NZ Division 23/7/1916 Taken on strength of the 2nd Anzac Cyclist Battalion 16/9/1916 Leave 13/1/1917 to 26/1/1917 – Postcard to his mother stated that he was enjoying 10 days’ leave in England and was having a tip-top time. He was going on a visit to Edinburgh by the “Flying Scotchman.” Detached to anti aircraft section 18/5/1917 to 25/5/1917, and again 26/5/1917 until 22/6/1917 at which time he was detached to the Lewis Gun School until 6/9/1917 Detached to the Lewis Gun Section 8/9/1917 and rejoined his Unit 20/9/1917 Wounded on the 30/9/1917 when hit by shrapnel from an enemy bomb whilst laying cables near Zonnebeke, Belgium – receiving wounds to his head, neck and eyes resulting in blindness – and transferred through the hospital system to England per the HS Andrew 16/10/1917, where he was admitted to the King George Hospital Transferred to the 2nd London General Hospital 26/10/1917 Admitted to St Dunstan’s Hostel for Blinded Soldiers 22/1/1918 where he received training in braille shorthand and typewriting Leave 16/7/1918 to 22/8/1918; 18/12/1918 to 8/1/1919; 14/3/1919 to 7/4/1919 Sick Leave 16/4/1919 to 7/5/1919; 23/6/1919 to 29/6/1919; 14/7/1919 to 25/8/1919 Leave 14/10/1919 to 14/11/1919; 15/11/1919 until 27/12/1919 (with a Pass to Aberdeen) Married Florence Lilian GRAY on the 17th November 1919 at St Mark’s Church, Edmonton, London, England Lilian was born in 1896, the daughter of Charles Phillips GRAY (a Railway Clerk) and Elizabeth BRINDLE. Together with her sister Blanche she had joined the British Red Cross in April 1918, and both served as VAD’s at St Dunstan’s Hostel, helping out with Entertainments and Collecting – they were still at St D’s in June1919. The couple returned to Australia together on the Megantic, embarking 9/1/1920 and arriving in Melbourne 20/2/1920 Children (4): Gordon Foster b.11/8/1920 (Clerk) – WW2; Stanley Charles Gray (Architect); Ronald Albert b.10/1/1923 – WW2 *Federal Secretary of the Australian Blinded Soldiers’ Association 1936: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/132034252 Nicknamed “Noisy” by his mates as shrapnel had not only blinded him but had also penetrated his larynx, and he spoke in whispers. *Member of the Blind Soldiers’ Bowling Team 1954: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/74784409 *Received an M.B.E. in 1954 for his work with blinded ex-servicemen Living with his mother and his brother Alec at 304 Glen Eira Rd, Caulfield West in 1922 (Shorthand Writer) – Lilian’s sister Blanche also lived with them prior to her marriage to Robert ARCHER in 1923 Living at 7 Brighton St, Sandringham 1931, 1963 In 1951 they travelled to the UK on the Himalaya, arriving London on the 19th of May – returned to Australia on the Strathmore, departing London on the 13/9/1951 Lilian died in August 1966 at Sandringham, aged 69, and was cremated at Springvale Foster was living at 3 Brighton St, Sandringham in 1968 Living with his son Gordon at 87 Vincent St, Sandringham in 1972, 1980 Died in December 1985 at Hampton, aged 93 Cremated on the 16th December at Springvale Crematorium and his ashes interred in the Banksia Garden, Wall G, Niche 526 Warrnambool Standard (Vic), Sat 1 Jul 1916 (p.3): SOLDIER’S LETTERS PTE A.F. McCONNELL Pte A.F. McConnell, writing to his mother on March 29th, announces his safe arrival in Egypt, where he met many Warrnambool and Camperdown lads, including Quinn, Blackburn, Tehan, Lindsay and Burnie. Writing again on April 29th, he states that, he had joined his brother Alec. They were both in the same division. Alec had joined the artillery and he was in the cycle corps. They were still in Egypt and were having a fairly good time. Warrnambool Standard (Vic), Thur 15 Mar 1917 (p.3): PERSONAL Mrs J. McConnell, Footscray, has received postcards from her son, Pte Foster McConnell, telling her that he was enjoying 10 days’ leave in England and was having a tip-top time. He was going on a visit to Edinburgh by the “Flying Scotchman.” Warrnambool Standard (Vic), Thur 1 Nov 1917 (p.4): SOLDIERS’ LETTERS WARRNAMBOOL CYCLISTS IN TRENCHES The following letter has been received by us: – England (on leave), August 25th, 1917 “We have noticed in many leading papers from Australia a great call for cyclists, and it states in most papers, that they are not used in the firing line, but behind the lines. Well, we should very much like you to publish in your paper that we have been in the front line trenches in France for 11 months and are still in them, and we have brought credit on the cyclists for the work we have done in this particular company. We are mostly from Warrnambool, and we think that as we are doing our bit in the firing line, we should be given that which we are all fighting for, that is, fair play. We were formed for open warfare we know, but as it is all trench warfare, we have fallen into line with the rest, and have, in so doing, made a name for ourselves for which we are proud; that is, we are the first cyclists to be holding a portion of the battle front in France. So hoping to see this in one of the many “Standards” that find their way out here. We remain, THE WARRNAMBOOL BOYS OF THE CYCLIST CO L-Cpl Dan Humphreys, Warrnambool Pte J. Wines, Warrnambool Pte K. Fotheringham, Warrnambool Pte L. Goodall, Warrnambool Pte A.F. McConnell, Warrnambool Pte R.E. James, Nirranda Pte C. McLellan, Port Fairy Sgt D. Byrne, Warrnambool This particular company was formed in Egypt in 1916. The Argus (Melb, Vic), Sat 21 Aug 1920 (p.13): BIRTHS McCONNELL – On the 11th August, to Mr and Mrs A.F. McConnell – a son (Gordon Foster). The Horsham Times (Vic), Wed 17 Mar 1954 (p.1): Mayor Pays Tribute To Blind Bowlers’ Courage Horsham had never had a more distinguished group of visitors than the members of the Blind Soldiers’ bowling team. Mayor of Horsham (Cr. W.J. Morson) said this when he welcomed the team to the Horsham Bowling Club on Monday afternoon. …………………………………………………………………………………… Mr Perry mentioned that one of the visitors, Mr Foster McConnell, was celebrating his birthday and led the singing of “They are jolly good fellows” for he and his wife. Mr McConnell once lived at Hamilton and worked on the Hamilton “Spectator.” http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/74784409 The Argus (Melb, Vic), Thur 10 Jun 1954 (p.6): THEY WERE HONORED BY THE QUEEN These are the Victorians honoured by the Queen in her Birthday Honors List, in recognition of their services to the Empire and the Nation. ………………………………………………………………………………………. M.B.E. (Civil Division) Allan Foster McConnell, of Melbourne, for his outstanding work for Australian blinded ex-servicemen. The Argus (Melb, Vic), Fri 4 Feb 1955 (p.2): ON THE SPOT By IAN JOHNSON ……………………………………………………………. Bill Johnston, Colin McDonald, Len Maddocks, and I had a drink with a few fellows in a compartment in the train coming back from Adelaide yesterday. There was nothing particularly unusual about that, but there was about three of the men. They were blind ex-servicemen who were returning from South Australia after having introduced the game of bowls to their fellow members in Adelaide. There was Joe Lynch, the association’s president for 23 years. He had lost a thumb as well as his eyes, and they called him “Chuckles” because he was so bright and happy. Foster McConnell, secretary for 20 years, they called “Noisy.” The shrapnel that blinded him also penetrated his larynx, and he spoke in whispers. Les Holt – he was known as “Wingie.” He had lost half an arm as well as his sight. They all laughed and joked, and talked of their sport with pride as well as pleasure. After we had left them the result of the Test match somehow didn’t seem quite so important. Notes: 1916 Letters from Dave Byrne – mention Foster: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/73875310 http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/73881344 The Argus (Melb, Vic), Fri 20 Oct 1944 (p.2): DEATHS THOM – On October 18, at Repatriation Hospital, Caulfield, James Waddell (Jimmie), dearly beloved friend of A.F. McConnell and family, Sandringham. – We will remember. Photo of Ernest 1917: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/154549813 The Prahran Telegraph (Vic), Fri 9 Nov 1923 (p.6): ALFRED HOSPITAL ACTIVITIES During the past week the following major casualties were treated at the Alfred Hospital: – Alec McConnell (27) of 304 Glen Eira Road, Elsternwick, was riding a push bike along Glen Eira Road when he was knocked down by a motor car driven by Mr Herbert Roeszler. He was brought to the hospital where he was admitted suffering from concussion.