The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (343) Private Daniel James O’Leary, 7th Battalion, First World War

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli
Accession Number PAFU2014/467.01
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 7 December 2014
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Charis May, the story for this day was on (343) Private Daniel James O’Leary, 7th Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

343 Private Daniel James O’Leary, 7th Battalion
DOW 25 April 1915
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 7 December 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Daniel James O’Leary.

Dan O’Leary was born in 1890 on Toganmain Station, near Hay in New South Wales. His father, John O’Leary, died in 1896, and his mother, Sarah, married James Carroll in 1902. Dan grew up in Corowa, where he attended the Convent of Mercy school. He became a grocer, and sometime after 1910 moved to Rushworth in Victoria to work for Walbran and Company.

O’Leary enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. He was posted to the 7th Battalion with another five young men from Rushworth. All six were sent to Broadmeadows Camp together and shared a tent during their training. They then joined the first contingent to sail for overseas service, arriving in Egypt for further training, after which the 7th Battalion was sent to Gallipoli.

At 4.45 in the morning of 25 April 1915 the 7th Battalion was on board the troopship Galeka off the shore of Anzac Cove. The tows meant to meet them failed to arrive, and the men were sent ashore in the troopship’s lifeboats. This meant that the battalion arrived on the beach in a different order than expected, and as they joined the battle they became further muddled and confused. Nevertheless, men ran ashore and managed to capture some Turkish positions behind Fisherman’s Hut, and began to reorganise.

At some point in the confusion Private Daniel James O’Leary was killed in action. No report was kept of the manner of his death.

In Australia O’Leary was sadly mourned both in Corowa and in Rushworth. He was considered a “fine example to the young men of the district”, and his death was “deeply deplored by all who knew him, for he possessed an extremely kind disposition and made many friends”.

O’Leary was one of two of the six Rushworth men from Broadmeadows Camp to be killed in the first hectic days on Gallipoli. His friend Reg Bond was also killed, while two others, Jim Johnson and William Florence, were wounded. The Rushworth newspaper reported that “their names will remain indelibly imprinted in our memories as Australians who astonished the world with that immortal struggle for a footing on Gallipoli”.

Daniel O’Leary was buried in the No. 2 Outpost Cemetery in the low foothills beyond the beach at Anzac Cove. He was 25 years old. His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Daniel James O’Leary, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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