No.14391 Sapper Patrick James O’Meara
"Pat Jas" O'Meara was born at Malmsbury in 1895 to "Mich" O'Meara and Mary Ann O'Sullivan. The couple had married in 1893 at Malmsbury, and had three children:
- Patrick James O’Meara - born in 1895 at Malmsbury
- Marion Cynthia O’Meara - born in 1896 at Malmsbury
- John Francis O’Meara - born in 1901 at Malmsbury
After the children were born, the family moved to the Werribee district. The Australian Electoral Roll for 1903 shows Michael O’Meara (his father) as working as a labourer on Bay View Farm, at Werribee.
The Australian Electoral Roll for 1913 shows the O’Meara family living at Gracedale, in Werribee, where they worked as farmers.
Prior to enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force, Patrick James O’Meara was working as a Railway Clerk at the Hawthorn Railway Station in Melbourne.
On 6 April 1916, Patrick James O’Meara enlisted in the A.I.F. at Melbourne. After training for two months with the A.I.F. Signal School, he was appointed to the 1st Australian Wireless Squadron in Melbourne, he was ready to proceed overseas with his unit, who were already in Persia.
On 30 May 1916, and at the age of 21 years, Sapper Patrick James O’Meara embarked at Melbourne with the 1st Australian Wireless Squadron per R.M.S. Morea. Their ship sailed to Colombo in Ceylon, and they disembarked there on 15 June 1916. They continued on to Bombay in India, and finally disembarked at Basrah (in modern Iraq) on 5 July 1916. His unit then moved to Baghdad on 15 August 1917.
The 1st (ANZAC) Wireless Signal Squadron consisted of two Australian Troops and one New Zealand Troop. Each troop consisted of four stations, and they were equipped with either powerful radio transmitters or receivers. The equipment was mobile, and transported on horse draw wagons. Two of the Australian receiver stations were used to intercept coded enemy transmissions, which were then decoded.
On 22 September 1917, Sapper O’Meara was attached to the Russian Forces in Persia. This event is recorded in his service file, but there is no mention of it in the Unit’s War Diary.
The Russian forces at this time in Persia were slowly disintegrating, because of desertions. By the end of 1917 their strength was down to one regiment. On 16 December 1917 the Armistice of Erzincan was signed, which ended the hostilities between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian forces. The Russians ceased to have a military presence in the area, and on the 17 January 1918 Sapper O’Meara re-joined his unit at Baghdad.
His unit remained in the area, and on 6 June 1918 he proceeded to India on three months leave. They were still there when he returned to duty on 9 September 1918.
The Armistice on 11 November 1918 passed without comment in the Unit’s War Diary, and they continued operations around Baghdad.
On 16 February 1919, three of the four troops of the 1st Australian Wireless Signal Squadron left Baghdad for Australia. They Embarked for Bombay on 26 February 1919 and disembarked at Bombay on 5 March 1919.
On his first day in that port, Sapper O’Meara’s celebrations got him into trouble. He was charged with three offences:
Offence 1. Drunk.
Offence 2. Disorderly conduct,
Offence 3. Neglect to obey an order at Declala. * (Deolali, India).
For these crimes he was awarded 168 hours in detention.
The final leg of his return to Australia began on 21 March 1919, when he embarked at Bombay per S.S. Janus. After arriving on 19 April 1919, it disembarked 85 returning Victorian soldiers, who were mostly members of the Australian Wireless Squadron from Mesopotamia.
The Age, 21 April 1919, p.7.
Sapper O’Meara was formally discharged from A.I.F. on 3 June 1919. The reason given: Termination of period of enlistment.
At a function held in the Werribee Mechanic’s Hall on the 26 June 1919, The Hon A.H. Lister, (the Member for Corio) presented a Werribee Shire Gold Medal and a set of Military Hair-brushes to nine returned servicemen. One of these was Sapper P.J. O’Meara.
Werribee Shire Banner, 18 September 1919, p.3.
The 1922 Electoral Roll list Patrick James O’Meara was a Railway Employee at Loch in Victoria.
Patrick James O’Meara married Mary Murphy in Victoria in 1922.
Victorian Marriages 1836-1942 Transcription, on findmypast.com.au
By 1924, he and his new wife Mary, had moved to 43 Egan Street in North Richmond, and he had been promoted to a Station Master.
In 1926, they moved to 11 Bliss Street, Richmond, and remained there until 1934, when they moved to Trafalgar in Gippsland.
In 1943, they had relocated to 416 Elgar Road in Box Hill, and remained there for six years.
Between 1949 and 1954, the family relocated to Railway Reserve at Seymour, as part of Patrick,s career with the Railways.
Then between 1958 and 1972, they lived at No.16 Second Avenue in Sunshine where he continued his railway duties. While living here in 1971, his wife Mary died, and was buried in the Altona Memorial Cemetery.
After 1972 Patrick James O’Meara is not listed in the Electoral Rolls, and he died in Seymour, four years later, in 1976.
Patrick James O’Meara died at Seymour in Victoria in 1976. His Death Certificate is No.16387/1976.
Victoria Deaths 1836-1985 Transcription, on findmypast.com.au
Patrick James O’Meara (1894-1975) is buried with Mary O’Meara (1897-1971) in the Altona Memorial Park. There is a photo of the grave marker on findmypast.com.au and https://billiongraves.com/grave/PATRICK-JAMES-OMEARA/12280836
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal - No.45038
- Victory Medal - No.44280
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: O’MEARA, P. L. (it has the wrong second initial)
The name "O’Meara P J from Werribee" first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 13 April 1916, p.1.
* Deolali – A British Army Hill Station in Maharashtra State in India. It was notorious for its unpleasant environment, boredom and the psychological problems of soldiers that passed through it. Wikipedia.
Unit War Diary
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