No. 80 Private John Faulkiner Conron
John Faulkiner Conron, born and bred in Werribee, has a special place in the district’s association with World War I.
He was recognised as one of the first young men to enlist in the AIF and on 7 August 1918 – some three months before the Armistice - his name was attached to one of the trees planted at the opening ceremony of the Werribee Avenue of Honour.
The plaque, and possibly the tree are long gone, but John Conron enlisted barely 10 days after war was declared on 18 August 1914 at just 19 years of age.
During his youth, he had served as a senior cadet with the 29th (Port Phillip) Light Horse Regiment, first formed in 1912.
He joined the 4th Light Horse Regiment and after basic training, shipped out to Egypt with his mates to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. They arrived in Alexandria on 15 May 1915 and were sent in as reinforcements on 22 and 24 May to the Gallipoli Peninsula, serving as dismounted infantrymen.
The Regiment spent most of its time reinforcing other infantry units that had suffered major losses in the first month of the campaign and helped defend the ANZAC’s precarious foothold at Gallipoli.
On 3 June 1915, Private Conron suffered a gunshot wound to his right shoulder and was evacuated via Lemnos in Greece to Egypt. Later that year he experienced heart trouble, brought on – as his medical record states – “by the strain of fatigue” while serving at Gallipoli.
Following treatment in Egypt, he was evacuated to Australia and discharged from service in March 1916.
The 4th Light Horse Regiment was the divisional cavalry regiment for the 1st Australian Division. Belying tradition, around 20 per cent of its recruits were 'city-dwellers' from Melbourne. It achieved legendary status for its charge at Beersheeba on 31 October 1917 which effectively broke Turkish resistance in the area.
A social evening was held in honor of John Conron at the Werribee mechanics' hall in October 1915.
Werribee Shire Banner, 14 October 1915, p.2
He was presented with a Werribee gold medal in May 1917.
Werribee Shire Banner, 10 May 1917, p.2.
Medals and Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
His descendants also received the Anzac medallion and lapel badge in 1967, recognising his participation in the Gallipoli campaign.
Lest we forget
Service record: NAA citation: NAA: B2455 Conron J F
http://www.awm.gov.au/units/unit_10555.asp - AWM 4th Light Horse Regiment history
Birth date: Registration number 16822
Death date: Registration number: 3724