McNamara John

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Enlistment Address

Gilgandra, NSW

Service Number



Liverpool Camp, NSW


Gilgandra Coo-ee


Discharged 12.3.1916


John McNamara

John Mc Namara stated he was a 45 year old butcher when he enlisted in Gilgandra on October 9 1915 but this was not his first attempt to enlist.

The first time John attempted to enlist was in Traralgon, Victoria in December 1914. He gave his age as 47 and passed the medical, but this enlistment didn’t proceed. His second attempt was at Gilgandra on October 9, 1915. He stated he was 45 years but this was 2 years younger than previously. The medical examination described him as 5’ 11” tall, 160lbs (72kgs), medium complexion, grey eyes, light brown hair with a scar on the point of his chin and a horseshoe mark on middle finger of left hand. He was a Catholic and his next of kin was his nephew, Valentine McNamara of Botany St Sydney.

He stated his previous service was 5 years with Regular Forces NSW and he also served through the whole of the South Africa Campaign.

This enlistment was successful so he marched off to Sydney with the Coo-ee March. He was attached to the 13th Battalion and trained at Liverpool. However, In January 1916 he was absent without leave for seven days, fined 40/- and forfeited pay. He was “AWOL” again in February and was discharged on March 12, 1916 as “his services are no longer required”.

The story told in John Meredith’s book ‘The Coo-ee March’ about the ’grizzled old veteran’ was a lot more interesting. It tells of how’ he enlisted in 80’s in the NSW Artillery, then the Soudan campaign and was awarded the Soudan Medal and Clasp and the Khedive’s Bronze Star. He earned another medal in the Matabele campaign. In South Africa he was in the Brabants Horse where he gained the Queen’s medal, and Four Clasps, the King’s Medal and Two Clasps and also the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Continuing in South Africa he joined the Transvaal Mounted Police and fought in the Cape Colony Rebellion. He then worked on the Cape to Cairo Railway. He spent time in New Zealand and returned to Australia in 1909. When he enlisted in early 1914 he was rejected because of his age, but when the age limit was raised he came to Gilgandra and shed a lot of years. When asked about his previous service, he unrolled a bag and emptied his bag of medals onto the table.’

Left to right is the Soudan Medal, Khedive Bronze Star, Kings Medal and Distinguished Conduct Medal