Friday, 26 September 2014

Faces from the past Friday - the four cousins

While researching the cousins that lost their life in WWI, I thought a lot about what it would have been like for these four young Australian men on the other side of the world. 

Who were the four young men? Well they were:

Harold George McKerihan (husband of my 1st cousin 1x removed)
Guy Sydney Connor (my 2nd cousin 1x removed)
Henry Surman (Harry) Connor (my 2nd cousin 1x removed)
David Ernest McCann (my 1st cousin 3x removed)

That doesn't tell me much. It's true that I did not know them, they died long before I was born however I feel a need to write something of them. 

Myra & Harold Wedding Day

Harold George McKerihan was born in Tenterfield, New South Wales on the 9th January 1888. He married Myra Evelyn Mackney (my 1st cousin 1x removed) on the 18th December 1913 in Casino, New South Wales. Their daughter, Una Myra McKerihan, was born on the 8 October 1914 in Dulwich Hill, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales.

Harold 1915
The new family had very little time together as Harold, now a Lieutenant in the 2nd Infantry Battalion, 6th Reinforcement, embarked from Sydney on the 16th June 1915 on board the HMAT Karoola A63.

Harold died of wounds received at Lone Pine Gallipoli, on 16th August 1915 at Alexandria, Egypt, just two months after leaving Australia. His baby daughter Una was just 11 months old and would never know her father.

The Battle of Lone Pine was short, this from the Australian War Memorial:

06 August 1915 - 09 August 1915

One of the most famous assaults of the Gallipoli campaign, the Battle of Lone Pine was originally intended as a diversion from attempts by New Zealand and Australian units to force a breakout from the ANZAC perimeter on the heights of Chunuk Bair and Hill 971. The Lone Pine attack, launched by the 1st Brigade AIF in the late afternoon of 6 August 1915 pitched Australian forces against formidable entrenched Turkish positions, sections of which were securely roofed over with pine logs. In some instances the attackers had to break in through the roof of the trench systems in order to engage the defenders. The main Turkish trench was taken within 20 minutes of the initial charge but this was the prelude to 4 days of intense hand-to-hand fighting, resulting in over 2,000 Australian casualties.
The Sydney Morning Herald of 2nd September, 1915 had this notice of Harold's death.

The Australian War Memorial biographical notes are as follows:

Lieutenant Harold George McKerihan, 2 Infantry Battalion, AIF. School teacher; of Petersham, NSW; born Tenterfield, NSW, educated at Tenterfield Public School; was an officer in the senior cadets at Casino, NSW; joined the AIF on 15 May 1915; died of wounds 16 August 1915, at Alexandria, Egypt, of wounds received at Lone Pine, Gallipoli. Age 27. Son of Edward and Elizabeth McKerihan.

Chatby Cemetery, Alexandria

Harold is buried in grave Q 488 at the Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Alexandria, Egypt.

I cannot begin to imagine the grief of Myra McKerihan upon hearing of the death  of her husband of just under two years. She now faced the challenge of raising their daughter alone.

To be continued.... 

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