Biography

Birth date: 20 November 1890
Birth place: Australia: Queensland, Mackay
Death date: 08 May 1982
Death place: Australia: Tasmania, Hobart
Final rank: Lieutenant
Service number: 399 - First World War, 1914-1918
4599 - First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • 5th Field Company, Australian Engineers
  • 8th Field Company, Australian Engineers
  • 26th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion

Ronald Alison McInnis was born near Mackay, Queensland, on 20 November 1890. Educated at Maryborough Grammar School, he trained for several years as an apprentice surveyor in Mackay and also qualified as a computing draughtsman. On 8 October 1912, McInnis was registered as an authorised surveyor. The 24-year-old enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 21 May 1915 and departed Brisbane with the 26th Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Ascanius on 24 May 1915.

McInnis was deployed to Gallipoli in September that year and spent the next two months rotating in and out of the trenches before being tasked with surveying the extensive tunnel system at Quinn's Post. Gallipoli was evacuated before he could finish his plan for the tunnel system, and during December 1915 he was transferred to the 8th Field Company of the Royal Australian Engineers. McInnis finished his plan for Quinn's Post early the following year and in June was sent to the Western Front. In September he was made an officer and on the same day as his promotion was transferred to the 53rd Infantry Battalion. From then on McInnis served at the front line with the battalion, his duties including trench construction and repair, and acting as a liaison officer to other battalions. His diary entries describe in great detail the battles in which he participated. One such entry depicts McInnis' brush with death in October 1916 while at the front. He was about to take a rest when a salvo of shells landed nearby. As McInnis looked to see where they had landed he noticed the wall of the trench he was in falling towards him. At first he struggled to free himself from the soft earth, but as it settled and compressed he realised it was slowly crushing him. Fortunately, members of his unit saw what had happened and successfully dug him out. In 1917 he attended several training courses, received a promotion to lieutenant, and participated in the battle at Passchendaele. McInnis' last major action on the front would be at the pivotal battle of St. Quentin Canal in September 1918.

After the Armistice McInnis went to London, and on 23 March 1919 he left for Australia. He later married and went on to have an extensive career in town planning. Ronald McInnis died at Hobart, Tasmania on 8 May 1982.

Rolls and Awards

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 24 May 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Brisbane

Photograph

J00391

Map of Quinns Post, at Anzac, showing trench lines. The map was compiled by Sapper Ronald Allison McInnis, 5th Field Company, Australian Engineers on 31 January 1916.

J00391

Private Record

McInnis, Ronald Alison (Lieutenant, b.1890 - d.1982)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Lieutenant Ronald Alison McInnis, 5 Field Company and 8 Field Company, RAE and later 53 Battalion AIF. Collection consists of three diaries (in notebook and writing pads) and a later typed transcript (comprising extracts from the diaries and... Maker: McInnis, Ronald Alison

PR00917 (With records)

McInnis, Ronald Alison (Lieutenant, b.1890 - d. 1982)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Lieutenant Ronald Alison McInnis, 5 Field Company and 8 Field Company, RAE and later 53 Battalion AIF. Collection consists of: 1. Field message book, Gallipoli, including nominal rolls for tunneling activities; sketches of dug-outs; survey of... Maker: McInnis, Ronald Alison

PR82/128

McInnis, Ronald Alison (Lieutenant, b.1890 - d.1982)

Collection relating to the First World War service of Lieutenant Ronald Alison McInnis, 5 Field Company and 8 Field Company, RAE and later 53 Battalion AIF. Collection consists of a typescript collection, compiled by Lieutenant McInnis after WWI, of extracts from letters and diaries he wrote... Maker: McInnis, Ronald Alison

1DRL/0438

Digitised Collection

Diary of Ronald Alison McInnis, 1916-1917

Diary relating to the First World War service of 399 Lieutenant Ronald Alison McInnis, 53rd Battalion. Written between 10 June 1916 and 3 November 1917, in this diary McInnis details his experiences as an engineer whilst serving with 26 Battalion and later 53rd Battalion. Having been sent to the...

RCDIG0000865

Diary of Ronald Alison McInnis, 1916-1919

Diary relating to the First World War service of 399 Lieutenant Ronald Alison McInnis, 53rd Battalion. Written between 19 June 1916 and the 12 March 1919, in this diary McInnis details his experiences as an engineer whilst serving with 26 Battalion and later 53 Battalion. Having been sent to the...

RCDIG0000885

Diary of Ronald Alison McInnis, 1917-1918

Diary relating to the First World War service of 399 Lieutenant Ronald Alison McInnis, 53rd Battalion. Written between 10 November 1917 and 31 December 1918, this diary written in an address book, McInnis details his experiences as an engineer whilst serving with 53rd Battalion. Serving on the...

RCDIG0000886

Transcript extracts of the diary and letters of Ronald Alison McInnis, 1915-1919

Transcript of diary and letter extracts relating to the First World War service of 399 Lieutenant Ronald Alison McInnis, 53rd Battalion. In this trancript, covering 22 May 1915 to 22 May 1919, McInnis details his experiences as an engineer whilst serving with 26 Battalion and later 53 Battalion....

RCDIG0000887

Published Collection

Quinn's Post Anzac

For a full catalogue description of this item please refer to the books collection database. Call number : G7432.G1 S65 XII.8e.

RC00826

Timeline

Date of birth 1890-11-20
Date of embarkation 1915-05-24
Date of death 1982-05-08