No. 2728 Private Peter Timothy (Herb) O’Keefe
Peter O’Keefe was born at Ballarat Victoria in 1893.
His parents were Daniel O’Keefe and Margaret O’Brien. His parents had 14 Children:
- Catherine O'Keefe (1876–1950)
- Michael O'Keefe (1878–1880)
- Daniel O'Keefe (1880–1945)(AIF No.4192)
- George O'Keefe (1882–1882)
- James Matthew (Jim) O'Keefe (1883–1939)(AIF No.4859)
- Thomas O'Keefe (1886–1964)
- Laurence Peter O'Keefe (1888–1947)
- John (Ernie) O'Keefe (1892–1944)(AIF No.2732)
- Peter Timothy (Herb) O'Keefe (1893–1945)(AIF No.2728)
- Edward Henry O'Keefe (1895–1950)(AIF No.4858)
- Margaret Ellen O'Keefe (1898–1972)
- Michael O'Keefe (1900–1906)
- Joseph O'Keefe (1902–1972)
- Eileen O'Keefe (1905–?)
Peter O'Keefe, was one of the seven brothers who enlisted for active service in the Australian Infantry Forces, five of whom were accepted.
Peter Timothy is listed on the 1914 Census records c/- Mrs Brien. There are a few Mrs Brien's in the Census records for Werribee, but there is no information available as their connection.
On 14 July 1915, Peter enlisted in the Australian Infantry Forces at Melbourne. He was 23 years of age and nominated his father as his Next of Kin, stating the address was Hertford-street, Sebastopol, Ballarat, Victoria. He was 5′ 9.5″ tall, weighed 10st 7lbs, chest 36-37. His complexion was fresh, eyes brown and hair brown.
After completing his initial training at the Broadmeadows Camp, his unit the 24th Battalion, 6th Reinforcements, embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 27 October 1915. He was taken on strength at 7th Battalion at Serapeum, Egypt.
Then taken on strength at 1st Pioneer Battalion on 13 March 1916. Embarked to join British Expeditionary Force at Alexandria on 26 March 1916, disembarking at Marseilles on 2 April 1916.
The Battalion subsequently served on the Western Front in France and Belgium, after being transferred to the European battlefields shortly after its establishment.
Peter was wounded in action in France (gunshot wound to right arm) on 22 July 1916. Embarked on Newhaven at Calias, France for England on 7 August 1916. He was admitted to East Leeds War Hospital, Leeds on 8 August 1916.
After his release from hospital he spent some time at the Pioneer Training Battalion Larkhill, England. The 1st Pioneer Battalion were carrying out some intensive training prior to going to the German front.
He proceeded overseas to France via Southampton on 12 October 1917 from where they were ferried across the English Channel to Le Havre. He rejoined his unit, 1st Pioneer Battalion, on 18 October 1917. Assigned to the 1st Division, the 1st Pioneer Battalion fought in most of the major battles that the AIF participated in between mid-1916 and the end of the war in November 1918.
Peter was admitted to hospital sick in France on 20 November with pleurisy. He was evacuated to England on board Princess Elizabeth on 26 November 1917. Admitted to Eastbourne Military Hospital, England on 27 November 1917, suffering from pleurisy with effusion.
He returned to Australia on board HMAT Euripides – A14, for change with Pleurisy with effusion on 30 January 2018. He was discharged on 27 April 1918.
In his NAA records a letter was sent by Miss Anastasia Flaherty, Synott Street, Werribee on 28 September 1917. She was enquiring about his health after his injury. Anastasia was married to Peter’s brother John (Ernie) O’Keefe.
Electoral Rolls have Peter living in Sebastopol, Ballarat in 1920 and 1927.
Peter died on 13 February 1945 at Campbellfield, Victoria and is buried in the Preston Cemetery.
Medals and Entitlements:
- 1914/15 Star Medal
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
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