Martin CONNELLAN #593

Private Martin Connellan, The Queenslander Pictorial, 17 October 1914

Martin Connellan born in 1892, was a frame builder in Maryborough when he volunteered 19 August 1914. Assigned to E Company of the 9th Infantry Battalion he trained at Enoggera Barracks before departing for the Middle East in September 1914. Just prior to the Gallipoli landing in April 1915 Connellan was taken ill and evacuated to hospital at Heliopolis, in Cairo but he rejoined his unit in June at Gabe Tepe.

Not only did Connellan survive the front lines, but several later bouts of sickness including tonsillitis and gastritis. After the conclusion of operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Connellan embarked with the battalion for France. He was again evacuated to hospital in 1917 this time with pneumonia and mumps.

When he returned to the front lines in October 1917 the 9th Battalion were in Belgium where he was remustered as a driver. He was commended for his gallant service at Westshoeck Ridge, East of Ypres on the afternoon of 2 November 1917, saving lives and rations during heavy shelling.

“Whilst driving a limbered wagon towards ANZAC Ridge the enemy opened heavy shell fire; the horses became frightened and unmanageable, and bolted for a distance of 100 yards down the road. Although the shelling continued Driver Connellan insisted on returning to retrieve the rear portion. By doing so he rendered most valuable service, and the rations which otherwise would have been destroyed were delivered safely.”

“On the succeeding day Driver Connellan was one of the men loading an animal in the pack train proceeding to SEINE when the enemy suddenly opened fire on the road wounding several horses and men and stampeded the horses. Not only did he regain control of his own animal but also caught two others, and was largely instrumental in re-organising the train, and thus having the rations safely delivered.”

Connellan returned home in October 1918 on special '1915' leave which was granted to those who served and survived the campaigns in Turkey and the Middle East. He married Ivenia McElligott in 1921 and gained employment with the Queensland Railways Department, in his home town of Maryborough.

His brother Patrick John Connellan also served, with the 26th Infantry Battalion.

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Marg Powell, Specialist Library Technician, State Library of Queensland


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