The veteran of the Coo-ees : John McNamara

Transcript of an article titled “The Veteran of the “Coo-ees” from The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, November 16, 1915, p. 2.


As long as ever he can remember, John McNamara, the grizzled old veteran, who marched in the front rank of the “Coo-ees” all the way down to the coast, has had a hankering after a military life. He first enlisted during the early eighties in the New South Wales Artillery, which was then under the control of the State Government. On the outbreak of the Soudan campaign he volunteered, for service, and secured a place in the field battery. At the conclusion of the campaign he was awarded the Soudan medal and clasp and the Khedive’s bronze star. His next experience of active service was under Major Forbes in the Matabele campaign, for which he holds the medal.

On the outbreak of hostilities in South Africa McNamara joined Brabant’s Horse, and went right through the war, gaining the Queen’s Medal and four clasps, the Kings Medal and two clasps, and also the Distinguished Conduct Medal. During the same campaign he also served in the Imperial Light Horse under Colonel Duncan McKenzie, and in the Western Province Mounted Rifles. At the conclusion of hostilities he enlisted in the Transvaal Mounted Police as a trooper, and during the Cape Colony rebellion a mounted patrol in which he was had a brush with the famous rebel leader Maritz at Toutlebosch Kop. Later as he resigned from the mounted police, and secured employment on the Cape-Cairo railway, being stationed at Wankas, a town 60 miles north of Buluwayo. Here he contracted black-water fever, and on his recovery he went to New Zealand. He remained there for some years, but the call of the bush was too strong, and six years ago he came over to New South Wales. He attempted to enlist at the beginning of the present war, but was rejected owing to the fact that he was over 35. Now things are changed. He is going to the front, and his heart’s desire being satisfied, there is no happier man in the “Coo-ees” than John McNamara.

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