Tag Archives: John Edward Leslie Hourigan

1918 birthday card for James Gerald Cameron

1918 birthday card for James Gerald Cameron

A ‘birthday card’ was presented to Company Sergeant Major James Gerald Cameron by twelve members of the Sergeant’s Mess of A Company, 45th Battalion, at Hastiere-Levaux, Belgium, on December 23rd 1918.

Birthday card presented to James Gerald Cameron, 23rd December 1918 (Photograph courtesy of the Gilgandra Museum & Historical Society)

It was made of four sheets of writing paper joined together, on cardboard, and was donated by his daughter Mrs Beatrice Richards to the Gilgandra Museum and Historical Society in 1983.[1]

The card read:


4747 C.S.M. Cameron J.

Side by side we fought together

Without dreaming, Jim, of fate

And we shared each others troubles

Or tried to, Jim, at any rate.

And now comes the time for pleasure

Your birthday we are keeping up

Although the whiskey bottle’s empty

We have some beer to fill us up.

You remember, Jim, last Xmas

At Peronne in all the snow

How we drank your birthday honours

And our hearts were all aglow.

Sadder times we’ve seen since them, Jim,

Lots of old boys have gone west

Fighting for their Country’s freedom

We have lost some of our best.

But this year has brought us gladness

And we live in peace once more

So we’ll celebrate your birthday

Better than we’ve done before.

So in closing, lads, I ask you

To charge your glasses to the brim

Let’s get full on this occasion

Best of luck lads

 “Cobber” Jim.

With best wishes for a bright and happy birthday

From ‘A’ Coy 45th Btln Sergts Mess

Hastiere Woux, Belgium  December 23rd 1918.’

The names of the 12 sergeants are listed on the card. Two of the sergeants named were Coo-ees:

4745 Sgt S. R. Carver (who joined  the Coo-ee March in the Blue Mountains) and 4787 J. E. Hourigan (who joined at Parramatta).

This photograph below is captioned ‘group portrait of the 45th Battalion on parade  in the snow at Peronne on Boxing Day 1917’ in the Australian War Memorial collection.   The birthday card mentioned that the men drank his ‘birthday honours’ last Christmas ‘at Peronne in all the snow’.  The 45th Battalion was stationed at Haut Allaines camp near Peronne in late December 1917.

‘Group portrait of the 45th Battalion on parade in the snow at Peronne on Boxing Day 1917’ (AWM E01548 26/12/1917)

[1] ‘Memories of a Coo-ee’, The Gilgandra Weekly, 2 November 1983, p. 7.

John Edward Leslie HOURIGAN

John Edward Leslie HOURIGAN

Corporal J. E. L. Hourigan (Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 12/8/1916)

Corporal J. E. L. Hourigan (Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate 12/8/1916)

Per his military service record (regimental no. 4787), John Edward Leslie Hourigan was born at Parramatta, N.S.W. He gave his age as 21 years and 1 month, his marital status as single, and his occupation as carter. His description on his medical was height 5 feet 7 inches tall, weight 166 lbs., with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and fair hair. His religious denomination was Roman Catholic. He claimed to have 4 years U. T. [universal training] experience and was still serving.

“Jack” Hourigan was reported in The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate as enlisting with the Coo-ees at Parramatta.[1] He completed his medical on the 11th November 1915 at Parramatta, and was attested by Lieutenant R. Howe at Parramatta on the 11th November 1915.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as reinforcement for the 13th Battalion. His service record shows he was made Acting Corporal from 11th November 1915.

He was reported in The Farmer and Settler on 5th January 1916 as being one of the Corporals in E company from the “Coo-ees” column, and it was noted that ‘as the “Coo-ees” are reinforcements for a battalion already at the front, and not part of a new battalion, these ranks may be only temporary’.[2]

On his embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was 415 Church Street, Parramatta, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his father, J. Hourigan, at the same address.

On 8th March 1916 Acting Corporal Hourigan departed Sydney on the HMAT A15 Star of England, along with many of the other Coo-ees, as part of the 15th reinforcements for the 13th Battalion. He arrived in Egypt on 11th April 1916.

On 19th April 1916, he was transferred to the 45th Battalion in Egypt,  along with some of the other Coo-ees.

On 29th May 1915 his promotion to Corporal was confirmed.

On 2nd June 1916 Corporal Hourigan left Alexandria aboard the transport Kinfauns Castle bound for France with other members of the 45th Battalion, arriving at Marseilles on 8th June 1916.

On 8th July 1916 the 45th Battalion was in the front line for the first time in the vicinity of Fleurbaix, France, when Corporal Hourigan was wounded in action, receiving a severe gunshot wound to his scalp. He was evacuated to the 4th Australian Field Ambulance then moved back to the 8th Casualty Clearing Station on 9th July 1916.

On 21st July 1916 he was sent to the 30th General Hospital at Calais in France. On 22nd July he was placed aboard the Hospital Ship Brighton for evacuation to England. He was admitted to the Wharncliffe War Hospital at Sheffield in England on 23rd July 1916.

On 21st September 1916 Corporal Hourigan was transferred to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield, England.

On 23rd September 1916 he was discharged from hospital, and marched into the Number 2 Command Depot at Weymouth, England.

On 14th October 1916 he was charge with overstaying leave from 3 p.m. on 11th October until 8 p.m. on 13th October 1916. He was reprimanded by the Colonel, and forfeited 3 days pay.

Corporal Hourigan was transferred to the Infantry Draft Depot at Pernham Downs in England on 24th January 1917.

On 13th March 1917 Corporal Hourigan departed Folkestone bound for France. He arrived at the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Etaples in France on 14th March 1917. Corporal Hourigan rejoined the 45th Battalion on 29th March 1917 when it was training in the vicinity of Bapaume, France.

In October 1917 Corporal Hourigan was sent to the Lieutenants Training School at the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Le Harve in France, however on 15th October 1917 he was charged with absenting himself from 10 p.m. on 13th October until 9.20 p.m. on 14th October 1917. He was reprimanded by the Commanding Officer, fined 2 days pay, and sent back to the 45th Battalion on 22nd October 1917.

On 21st January 1918 Corporal Hourigan went on 14 days leave to England.

He rejoined the Battalion on 9th February 1918 when it was being relieved from the front line in the vicinity of Hollebeke in Belgium.

On 25th March 1918 the 45th Battalion was moving by motor buses from Belgium to the Somme battlefield in France, when Corporal Hourigan sprained his left ankle.[3] He was evacuated to the 12th Australian Field Ambulance, then moved back to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station, then placed aboard the 20th Ambulance Train, where he was conveyed to the 9th Canadian Stationary Hospital, being admitted on 26th March 1918.

On 29th March 1918 he was sent to the 7th Convalescent Depot at Boulogne, France.

On 10th April 1918 he was moved to the 10th Convalescent Depot.

On 18th April 1918 he marched into the 4th Australian Division Base Depot at Le Harve, France.

Corporal Hourigan rejoined the 45th Battalion on 13th May 1918 when it was in action in the vicinity of Villers Brettoneux, France.

On 6th November 1918 Corporal Hourigan was promoted to Sergeant.

Following the Armistice, on 19th November 1918 Sergeant Hourigan went on leave to England. He rejoined the 45th Battalion on 6th December 1918.

On 21st April 1919 Sergeant Hourigan marched into the Australian Base Depot at Le Harve to commence his return to Australia. He left for England the next day, on 22nd April 1919.

On 11th May 1919 Sergeant Hourigan departed England aboard the Transport Borda bound for Australia.

He arrived in Australia on 28th June 1919, and was discharged Termination of period of Enlistment on 12th August 1919.

[1] ‘Of the Boys’, The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 7 June 1919, p. 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86115560

[2] ‘Route Marches. Gathering of the Clans. The “Cooees”winning praise in camp’, The Farmer and Settler, 5 January 1916, p. 3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116676486

[3] Lee, J. E., The chronicle of the 45th Battalion A.I.F., East Sussex : The Naval & Military Press Ltd, [2009], p. 58.

The Coo-ees in Liverpool Camp

Transcription of an article titled ‘Route Marches : Gathering of the Clans : The “Cooees” winning praise in camp’  in The Farmer and Settler, 5 January, 1916, p. 3.

Gathering of the Clans

The lying rumors that have been spread — maliciously by enemy sympathisers, without a doubt — concerning the men that took part in the Gilgandra route march render it expedient that a few definite facts should be published to nail the lies like vermin on a barn door.

When the Inspector-General (General McCay) reviewed the troops in training at Liverpool camp the other day, he did the job thoroughly, taking them battalion by battalion, and company by company, criticising severely when the facts called for it, and giving a little carefully measured praise where it was due. When he had seen E company of the 13th Battalion he complimented the commanding officer on the appearance of his men, and said that they were “the steadiest on parade that day.” He did not know until later that E company was the present regimental name of our old friends, the “Coo-ees.” These men from the west had been in camp little more than a month, and the companies they were so flatteringly compared with consisted in some cases of men that had been drilling for three months or more; so the compliment was something for the “Coo-ees” to be proud of.

Another fact suggesting that the time spent in marching to the seaboard is not wasted: On the day of the great “round up” in Sydney, when every man in uniform outside the camps was called upon “to show cause,” the whole force at Liverpool was taken for a fourteen miles forced march over rough roads, on a stifling day under a broiling sun. “The Coo-ees did it smiling, while nearly all the rest were nearer tears” is the way in which an observer illustrates the contrast in condition between the men that had marched over the Blue Mountains and the others. So route marches not only bring the young men of the rural settlements face to face with their duty, but they have some definite value also in fitting men for soldiering.

Now for some statistics: The Coo-ees marched into camp 273 strong, and seven men were added from other units, because of technical knowledge or for other reasons. Of this number, unfortunately, twenty-one failed to pass the severe Liverpool medical test, and sixteen, for medical or disciplinary reasons, have since been transferred to the home defence forces, or have been discharged — not a large proportion to lose in comparison with the camp experience of other units. And although thirty men, at their own request, have been transferred to the Light Horse, it will be seen that the “Coo-ees” column is still substantially intact, an assertion that is further supported by the fact that every non-com. but one in the present E company marched with the column from the west. The company sergeant-major is S. E. Stephens, who, since his service with the first expeditionary force in New Guinea, has been on the “Farmer and Settler” editorial staff; he went to Gilgandra to report the route march for this journal, re-enlisted there, and marched into camp with the column. The platoon sergeants are: H. Davenport, of Wongarbon; L. R. Anlezark, of Orange; T. W. Dowd. of Wongarbon; and E. S. Taylour, of Wentworthville. Corporals: C. H. Maidens, of Molong; W. W. Smith, of Geurie; J. E. L. Hourigan of Parramatta; J. G. Cameron, of Gilgandra; J. McKeown, of Gilgandra; and Pay Corporal J. C. Gilmour, of Coonamble. Others of the men gathered in on that first route march are qualifying for the non-com. class; but unfortunately, as the “Coo-ees” are reinforcements for a battalion already at the front, and not part of a new battalion, these ranks may be only temporary. How well, on the whole, the “Coo-ees” are behaving, and how quickly they are assimilating the lessons to be learned at Liverpool is evidenced by the fact, that although they only marched into camp on November 14th, a fairly big draft has already been made upon E company to make up the 14th reinforcements for the battalion at the front.

The next time that the story is whispered that the “Coo-ees” proved to be a bad lot, the readers of the “Farmer and Settler” will be able to say that they know better; that the “Coo-ees” are the pride of their company officers, have been complimented by General McCay, came smiling out of a forced march, have lost very few men through misbehavior, and are getting fit so rapidly that they will very shortly all be in Europe putting fresh battle names on the proud colors of the “Fighting Thirteenth.”’

Click here to access the article on Trove: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116676486