• Cyril Harvey Kelly

Army / Flying Corps
  • 16th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Private

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  • Birth

    Bunbury, WA, Australia

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Bunbury, WA, Australia

Stories and comments
    • Cyril Harvey Kelly
    • Posted by Mapping our Anzacs story, Thursday, 21 November 2013

    Cyril Harvey Kelly 1897 - 1916 This note was forwarded to Cyril's family following his death in action with the 16th Battalion AIF. Although there is a mention of marking the grave, it was not found, and Cyril is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial. Cyril's brother Murray enlisted 3 months after Cyril's death, served with the Camel Corps, and returned to WA following the war.

    Cyril Harvey Kelly
    • Last Post Ceremony, Australian War Memorial, 5 Feb 2014
    • Posted by gphaidon, Wednesday, 10 September 2014

    Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Cyril Harvey Kelly. Cyril Kelly was the son of Maxwell and Rosetta Kelly, born in Bunbury , Western Australia on the 28th of January 1897. When he was two years old, his father drowned in a sailing accident, so Cyril, his sister and two brothers were raised by his mother. Following his schooling, Cyril became a clerk on the railways, whilst continuing to help on the family farm. Cyril enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on the 29th of July 1915, and after a period of training in Australia, was sent to Egypt, where he joined the 16th Battalion. More training followed, after which he was sent to France, to fight on the Western Front. The 16th Battalion saw heavy fighting at Mouquet Farm in August of 1916. Although his battalion saw heavy casualties, Private Kelly emerged unscathed. The winter of 1916-17 was one of the harshest on record. Kelly wrote home in November of the conditions: “It is getting cold here now, cold and wet and mud, in some places up to your waist. It is awful, and 48 hours is about as long as they can keep you in the front line.” A month later he wrote home again: “The ground crunches with ice under your feet, and snow fell today. I have been cold for about two months.” The winter was spent rotating in and out of the front line, training and providing working and carrying parties. In early February 1917, still experiencing severe frosts and frozen ground, the 16th Battalion re-entered the front line around the French village of Flers for a seven day period. On the 5th of February Kelly’s company was on the right of the line, and came under heavy artillery fire. During this bombardment Private Cyril Kelly, and a number of other men in his gun crew were killed by a single shell. It was not recorded whether or not he was afforded a burial where he fell. If so, his grave was later lost, and he has no known grave. Cyril Kelly had just turned 20 years old. As a tribute to her lost son, Cyril’s mother Rosetta painted a collection of over 300 watercolours of Western Australian wildflowers, which was later donated to the City of Bunbury art collection. His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War. His photograph is displayed beside the Pool of Reflection. This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Cyril Harvey Kelly, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

    • Rosetta Hannah Kelly 1864-1963
    • Posted by gphaidon, Thursday, 11 September 2014

    Rosetta Kelly travelled, with her husband Maxwell, from South Australia to Western Australia in the 1890’s, and settled in Bunbury. She was left widowed with four children in 1899, and continued to live in Bunbury, teaching art to support the family. When her son, Cyril Harvey Kelly, aged only 20, was killed in action with the 16th Battalion AIF in France in 1917, Rosetta was devastated, and began painting watercolours of WA wildflowers which she dedicated to the memory of her son. Initially she travelled by horseback in the Bunbury area, and later when she was able to change to car travel, her field of wildflower exploration widened from Carnarvon to Esperance, and over about 40 years the collection eventually grew to over 300 paintings, certified by the then State Government Botanist as being botanically correct. Some of the wildflowers that were common in her time are now believed to be endangered or extinct. After some years of a precarious existence following Rosetta’s death in 1963, and the loss of some of the paintings, the surviving paintings were sold outside the family, and later completely disappeared for many years. However in 2009 the collection was rediscovered by a great-granddaughter of Rosetta’s, stored in a shed outside Bunbury. Although in need of some care and attention, they have survived in remarkably good condition, and they now form part of the City of Bunbury Art Collection. The collection, true to Rosetta’s passionate wishes, will be kept intact, both as an historical record of some of Australia’s unique flora, and a tribute to a mother’s mourning for a son lost in war.

    Cyril Rosetta and Murray Kelly, circa 1910