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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

V.K McNamara



Vincent Kiern/Kearn McNamara was born on September 3rd, 1894 in Hammond, South Australia to John and Margaret McNamara [nee Smith]. He was one of a large family which numbered around 9 siblings. His life prior to service is not well documented. At the outbreak of war, he was a School Teacher in the county of Jervois and his brother [James Stephen McNamara] enlisted at the start of hostilities and was allotted into the 2nd Battalion. James would land on Gallipoli and send a letter to his brother on a piece of cardboard.

Published August 6th, 1915.
661 James Stephen McNamara

James was killed between August 7th-14th at Lone Pine along with a good portion of his Battalion. Vincent probably enlisted due to that as he joined up on September 29th, 1915 with the serial number 1875. Following just under a month of training, he was assigned to the 13th Reinforcements of the 9th Light Horse Regiment on November 1st, 1915. He embarked from Melbourne on January 5th, 1916; His contingent was contributed half from Melbourne and the other from Adelaide.
Vincent McNamara, prior to embarkation
He was taken onto strength on February 10th following the Regiments evacuation from the Gallipoli Peninsula and was sent to 'A' Troop, 'A' Squadron, 9th Light Horse Regiment. He was transferred to 'B' Squadron, 3rd Light Horse Training Regiment on March 6th and promoted to Corporal a week later. He went to hospital on April 29th with measles, returning to duty on May 13th. Just under 5 months following this, he was promoted to Temporary Sergeant at Moascar on October 3rd. Assuming that he wasn't away 'off the record', he more than likely took part in the bayonet attack on Magdhaba resulting in 22 Allied dead to the enemies 300+ [97 confirmed]. On December 31st, he went to the School of Instruction on a Machine Gun course at Zeitoun, passing with honours on January 22nd, 1917, thereby missing the Battle of Rafa on January 9th. He transferred back to the 9th Light Horse Regiment and was reverted to his substantive rank of Corporal on February 11th. A letter by Vincent was published on August 10th, 1917. It reads..

Palestine, May 25th, 1917.

"I wish to write you a few lines in acknowledgement of your neat and useful parcel, and thank you muchly for same, also in appreciation of the good feeling which prompted you to join your efforts and form your little club in remembering the boys who have gone from your district, and consider myself fortunate in having been connected with it in some small way. There is no doubt that the moral of the troops is due very largely to the support and attitude towards them adopted by those at home, for no matter how long they have been in service or how 'hard' they have become they still think of the home land. Yes, if you could see us sometimes you would think we were in need of soap and water. It is not very long ago since we used to long to be off the desert sands and on hard ground, but there are times now when we are riding in the heat over the much cut up and dusty country that we almost wish we were back in the desert. When divisions of horsemen are on the move, the dust, especially on a windy day is something cruel. You will doubtless know by the papers about where we are. They print names, etc., more freely than we can write. We have just moved into the coast for a short stay. It is glorious for both men and horses after the strenuous time we have had lately. Of course we find plenty to do even here, feeding, watering, grooming, and piquetting our horses, besides numerous camp fatigues, guards, and care of equipment and saddlery. It is a beautiful coast for bathing, and I think more appreciated by us when we came in for a wash and a rest than all the surfing at Manly. The most severe fighting we have yet had took place just over a month ago, when we were badly knocked about, but I think we gave 'Jacko' quite as much. He is making a very deter- mined stand now and this front has developed very considerably since we crossed the desert. Ken Mudge [1] of the Camel Corps was killed outright by a high explosive, and Bonnar [2] was badly wounded by shrapnel. I think they are the only ones you would know. At the close of that day I found myself in charge of our troops, as our officers and sergeants were either killed or wounded, but we have re-organised again now. I thought I used to do some long rides to Cowell, going to dances, etc., and lose a lot of sleep, but it was only a hop and step compared with what we have to do here, especially when we are situated some distance from Jacko, and have to go out on a raiding venture or surprise attack. These we specialise in as we can move such a long way in an all-night march. A good hard week with little sleep seems to make men look years older, but a few days in a camp like this and a man soon gets his 'punch back,' especially if there is a canteen about to supplement the issue rations. We have no tents, and when horses are saddled, equipment on, and rifles slung we are 'at home.' We have one change of clothes — our military issue and birthday suit. Most of us carry light captured Turkish sheets on the front of our saddles, which we use to make shades or 'bivvies,' as we call them, when we camp. The country here, though very fertile, is inhabited only by a kind of Arab Bedouin. At present they are all under military control, but in normal times I think they abide only by ancient customs, each keeping his own herd of cattle, goats, donkeys, etc., to his own flat or field, fenced only by a ditch with a cactus hedge. Well, as I think this is the longest letter I have written for a long time I will conclude by wishing again to convey to all the members of the Club my appreciation of their efforts. Best wishes and kindest regards to all."

1. Kenneth Andrew Mudge, initially 11th Light Horse Regiment, Killed on the Sheik Abbas Ridge on April 19th, 1917, aged 21.

2. Roderick Lindsay Donald Bonnar, initially 9th Light Horse Regiment. Suffered a Gunshot wound to head, chest, right arm and shoulder at Gaza on April 19th, 1917. He was discharged medically unfit in November 1917, died of Natural Causes in August 1956
Bodies of the Light horsemen killed at Gaza, buried months after the battle.

After 8 months at the front, he was sent to a rest camp in October [3rd] 1917 where he would remain only for 10 days. He was involved minorly at the Charge at Beersheba. He then took part in the actions around Jerusalem in November-December 1917, especially at the counter attack on Beit Ur el Tahta on December 1st. Vincent then went to a gas school on December 22nd, finishing it on January 10th, 1918. He went onto serve along the Jordan River and Es-Salt raid. He was admitted into hospital at Alexandria on June 24th with conjunctivitis and was chosen for Details at Mustapha on July 3rd. Vincent was then marched into the 3rd Light Horse Training Regiment, then marched out to the 9th Light Horse Regiment on August 3rd, arriving on the 5th. He was promoted to Temporary Sergeant on September 9th, 1918. His Regiment captured Damascus in October 1918 just before the Middle Eastern theatre concluded. Vincent reverted to Corporal on November 19th, 1918. He was promoted Temporary Sergeant again on January 12th, 1919. He was then promoted Temporary Second Lieutenant on April 2nd, 1919 and then Lieutenant on July 2nd. 8 days after his promotion, he was apart of a contingent of his Regiment to embark for Port Said to Australia. Just prior to the voyage, he was appointed Education Officer no doubt due to his prior experiences as a teacher.
From the 9th Light Horse Regiment's War Diary, July 1919
From the 9th Light Horse Regiment's War Diary, August 1919.

Vincent arrived back in Australia on August 10th, 1919 and received a warm welcome home at Moockra.
His commission was terminated at 4th M.D on October 3rd, 1919 after just about 4 years in the A.I.F. He went on to teach at Salt Creek School for two years, become vice captain of a Tennis Club, community leader and a rifle shooter among other things. He married Daphne Guidera on June 29th, 1921.image.png.429814ce70bfc52c6ce5d0510457ba66.png
Vincent McNamara is back row, first on left.

Vincent lived a fairly long life, living to 84 dying on July 12th, 1978.

As a post-1915 embarker, he was entitled to the common Great War duo medal set pictured below
WW1 British War & Victory Medal Pair - Nurse L. Smith, Voluntary Aid  Detachment
Note: Not a long one, but I've been meaning to write up one for awhile, and especially this one as he is my great great uncle.


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