No.1697 Private William Mahoney
There is no record of the birth of William Mahoney in the Victorian Pioneer Index 1836-1888, so it not possible to ascertain his family members.
Prior to enlisting, William Mahoney had no previous military experience in the school cadets or militia. At his first attempt to enlist in the A.I.F. he was rejected on medical grounds, because of the condition of his teeth. Then as the need for men became more urgent, he was accepted for service.
While working interstate, William Mahoney swore his oath at Dubbo in New South Wales on 14 November 1915, and remained there to complete his initial training. That was completed on 15 March 1916, and he was appointed as a Private with the 2nd Reinforcements for the 54th Battalion.
One month later, Private Mahoney embarked at Sydney per HMAT Ceramic A40, on 14 April 1916, and sailed for Egypt. He disembarked at Suez on 17 May 1916 and spent two months on duty before embarking at Alexandria on 29 July 1916 to join the B.E.F. in Europe. He sailed on the H.M.T. Arcadian, and travelled via Marseilles, to England.
After disembarking at Southampton on 9 August 1916, the reinforcements marched-in to the 14th Training Battalion at Lark Hill, and underwent further training. By 31 August 1916 their training had finished, and they proceeded overseas to France.
On 26 September 1916, Private Mahoney was one of 81 reinforcements who joined the 54th Battalion *, from reinforcements. His new unit was resting at Fleur Baix, after being relieved from duty on the front line at Wye Farm.
The 54th Battalion relocated to the trenches of the Somme Valley in October 1916, and remained there until early 1917. While there they participated in attacks on the German army as they retreated to the Hindenburg Line.
His unit fought in the Second Battle of Bullecourt in May 1917, and then moved to the Ypres sector in Belgium. While there, they fought in the attack on Polygon Wood, on 26 September 1917.
On 15 May 1917, the 54th Battalion occupied a portion of the Front Line in front of Reincourt. This sector was part of the famous Hindenburg Line. The intensity of the fighting can be gleamed from two message sent by Captain Morris of the 54th Battalion on that day – "Germans massing in trench on our right flank. Send up reinforcements immediately. We are expecting them over any minute. Get artillery barrage on at once". Then later in the day - "Please send up as many stretchers as can be spared. They are urgently needed. Casualties are very heavy".
The Battalion successfully held off the German attack, and were relieved on 26 May 1917. They then moved to a camp at Beaulencourt, for a rest.
It was while here that Private Mahoney was admitted to hospital (5th Divisional Rest Station (5 D.R.S.)) suffering with Trench Fever **. After a week's treatment he returned to his Battalion, but was readmitted after another week. William continued to have flare-ups of trench fever. He was admitted to the 9th Casualty Clearing Station on 14 June 1917, who passed him back to the 9th General Hospital at Rouen. His condition was then referred to as P.O.U.O. ***
William’s medical condition failed to improve, and on 8 July 1917 he was evacuated to England per Hospital Ship Panama. Back in England, he was admitted to the 1st London General Hospital at Camberwell, suffering with an infected stomach.
After four months of treatment William had not recovered, and was then suffering with Dyspepsia. **** The medical diagnosis was that he should return to Australia for a change, and he embarked for Australia per H.M.T. Themistocles on 5 November 1907.
After disembarking at Sydney on 3 January 1918, Private Mahoney made his way back to Victoria, and attended a Presentation of Gold Medals in the Werribee Mechanics Hall at Werribee on 21 March 1918. During the ceremony it was mentioned that he had recently been invalided home.
Werribee Shire Banner, 28 March 1918, p.3.
Private William Mahoney was discharged from the 2nd Military District on 19 June 1918.
It is not possible to find any record of William Mahoney after the war.
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board is : "Mahoney, - "
The name "Mahoney - , from Werribee" first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 9 November 1916, p.1.
In 1912, three Mahoney boys were recorded as playing football for Cocoroc West; C., L., and J. Mahoney.
Werribee Shire Banner, 23 May 1912, p.2.
In 1912, Charles Mahoney and Bridget Mahoney were farmers living at Cocoroc. (Victorian Electoral Rolls)
In 1912, Timothy Mahoney (Labourer) and Grace Ellen Mahoney were living at Werribee (Victorian Electoral Rolls)
In 1912, the Metropolitan Board of Works took steps to purchase Mr C. Mahoney’s farm, comprising of 252 acres, at a cost of £15 an acre.
Werribee Shire Banner, 24 October 1912, p.2.
In 1937, a Mr John Mahoney was living at Geelong Road, Werribee.
Werribee Shire Banner, 1 July 1937, p.1.
* The 54th Battalion became part of the 14th Brigade of the 5th Australian Division.
** Trench Fever – (Also known as 5 day fever) A moderately serious disease, spread by body lice.
*** P.O.U.O. – PUO : Pyrexia of Unknown Origin. A medical term usually applied to Trench Fever.
**** Dyspepsia is a term which includes a group of symptoms that come from a problem in the upper gut.
Unit War Diary
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