Carmody

Background:-

carmody_1200_dvh_a_350Leonard James Carmody was born in 1890 at St Leonards.

His parents were John & Ellen (nee Sprouster). John was from Limerick and Ellen from Bathurst. They married in Bathurst in 1878. His occupation in the Railway Department and later in the Telegraph service took them to various towns in NSW

Leonard was the 7th of 7 children. He had 5 sisters & 1 brother. He was educated firstly at Cobar then at Marist Brothers North Sydney, then business training at Stott & Hoare’s Business College. He did not marry.

Enlistment:

Leonard enlisted on 16 Oct 1916.

He stated occupation as clerk and address as Dalton Park, Cobar.

He was tall and slight being 5ft 9in (175cm) tall; weighed 131lb (59kg); chest 33-35½in (84-90cm). He had a brown birthmark in the small of his back; a fair complexion, blue eyes, fair hair; and was a Roman Catholic.

He was assigned Service Number 624 and attached to 10th Reinforcements for the 9th  Machine Gun Company which was part of the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Division.

War Service: Western Front:

After training at the Machine Gun Depot at Seymour in Victoria, Leonard and the 10th Reinforcements departed from Melbourne on HMAT Suevic on 21 Jun 1917, disembarking at Liverpool on 26 Aug.

After 2 months training in UK Leonard was transferred to 33rd Battalion (also part of the 9th Brigade of the 3rd Division). After more training he proceeded to France eventually joining his unit on 13 Jan 1918.

33rd Battalion was resting west of Armentieres and the weather was extremely cold with snow & ice. Conditions so bad that within 2 days Leonard was sick with pleurisy and started along the medical evacuation path eventually reaching 26th General Hospital at Etaples on 20 Jan.

After 9 days in hospital and a further 3 months in convalescent units he rejoined his Battalion on 25 Apr near Villers-Bretonneux which had been lost during the successful widespread German Spring Offensive of previous weeks.

After other units recaptured the town, the 33rd Battalion was engaged in early May to advance the front by a mile and gain the heights to the east. They were then pulled back for 2 weeks of rest and training before returning to the front line.

Jun & Jul were spent rotating between the front & rear areas.

On 8 Aug, the Battalion participated in the Battle of Amiens. This was a great success with minimal casualties and pushing back the enemy 11 km towards Mont St Quentin.

The Australian units were now poised for the crucial attacks on Mont St Quentin and Peronne. The 33rd Battalion role was to be engaged in the attacks to take the high ground to the left of Mont St Quentin.

Casualty:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe attack commenced on 30 Aug. Leonard was a member of a Lewis gun team. The attack commenced at 6.30am and “about 3 hours afterwards while walking along a trench he was killed outright by a sniper’s bullet through the head”. He was buried by the Battalion padre near to where he fell. His grave was marked but subsequently lost and he is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux memorial.

Leonard’s Company of around 200 men suffered 31 killed, 1 missing, and 50 wounded.

Aftermath:

On 17 Sep 1918 SMH Roll of Honour notice stated:

“CARMODY – Killed in action in France, August 30, 1918, Private Leonard James Carmody, 33rd Battalion, late 9th Machine Gun Company, youngest son of Mr and Mrs John Carmody, Lakemba (late of Cobar).”

On 31 Oct the Catholic Press All About People article stated:

“Mr. and Mrs. J. Carmody, of McCourt street, Lakemba (late ‘ Coolna-Greena,’ Cobar), have received word that their youngest son, Private Leonard James Carmody, 33rd Battalion, late 9th Machine Gun Company, was killed in action in France, on August 30, 1918. He was an old pupil of the Marist Brothers, North Sydney, and at the time of enlisting was employed in the clerical division of the Gas Works, Mortlake. — R.I.P.”

On the 30 Aug anniversary of his death every year from 1919 to 1924, the SMH In Memoriam On Active Service notice stated:

“CARMODY. -In loving memory of Private L. J. Carmody (Len) 33rd Batt., killed in action, France, August 30 1918. Loved pal of Vi. Edwards, Cambooya, West Kogarah.”

Leonard named his sister Annie as his beneficiary in his will and in June 1919 she received his personal effects including wallet, photos, cards, and pocket book.

His mother died in 1929 and father in 1932.

Annie did not marry & died in 1976 & was buried in Woronora Cemetery.

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