In the hands of the Turks

The Diary of Bart Creedon, Prisoner of War

When Private Creedon, 9th Infantry Battalion, took shelter in a dugout on June 1915, he had suffered a blow to the head and been wounded in both hands. He dozed while he waited for dusk, when he woke, to his horror he was looking down three Turkish rifles.

Maryborough volunteers, for the European War   Top left F.W. Neal, centre D.B. Creedon

Maryborough volunteers, for the European War   Top left F.W. Neal, centre D.B. Creedon

Tragically Bart Creedon did not survive the conditions of the camps in which he was interned, he died at Angora, Turkey in February 1917.

Fellow prisoner Private Jonas Palfrey Havard, a New Zealander, kept Creedon's belongings and on his own release handed them, including his brief diary, to another POW, Sergeant John Halpin, 12th Light Horse Regiment, who promised to return them to Bart's mother Kate Cowhey in Maryborough.

Creedon's diary was donated to the Australian War Memorial, several copies were made by his friend Lance Corporal Frederick William Neal, one was donated to the State Library of Queensland.

Creedon's diary was donated to the Australian War Memorial, several copies were made by his friend Lance Corporal Frederick William Neal, one was donated to the State Library of Queensland.

Illawarra Mercury

Much more of Creedon's story can be revealed however via the correspondence available on his Red Cross Wounded and Missing files, available at the Australian War Memorial.

Lance Corporal Frederick Neal

In 1919 the Red Cross contacted Private Jonas Havard, asking if he could supply them with information about Creedon's care, illness and death.

In his response Havard, who spent quite some time in the company of Creedon, related how his belongings had come to be in the hands of Sergeant Halpin, the circumstances of his death, and place of burial. It would have meant so much to his family.

Red Cross Wounded & Missing file

Red Cross Wounded & Missing file

While we can observe ANZAC day here in Australia, and at many sites across the globe, we are unable to visit the memorial for Daniel Bartholemew Creedon, originally interred in the Armenian Cemetery in Angora. These graves were undistinguishable after the end of the war and a Special Kipling Memorial was erected in the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq.

Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial

Bart Creedon's name will be projected on the Australian War Memorial's Hall of Memory this month, on the 9th May 2016 and throughout the World War 1 commemorative period.

Further reading:

Marg Powell
QANZAC 100 Content Technician
State Library of Queensland

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Hello I was wondering if there is any family or other that knows about Jonas Havard and his wife Violet.Violet is my grandfathers cousin and was raised by her grand parents as far as I can make out her Mother having passed away.Her Grand parents my Great ,Great grandparents Henry and Alice Tomkins. Thanks Linda Tomkins