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Service Men and Women

Alfred Allen McConnell

By February 13, 2018No Comments

Alfred Allen McConnell was born in Orange on 24 September 1887, the fifth of twelve children of Ophir settlers Archibald Smith McConnell and Elizabeth Hetherington.

Alf was working as a miner at Ophir when he enlisted on 30 December 1915. He was assigned to the 17th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement as a private and embarked for overseas service on 5 June 1916.

Private McConnell arrived in England on 4 August 1916 and was hospitalised three weeks later suffering from mumps. Upon his release from hospital he was transferred to the 33rd Battalion, and in November proceeded to the Western Front in France.

On 1 April 1917 Alf was admitted to the 11th Field Ambulance with pleurodynia (severe chest pain). The following month he was admitted to the 32nd Stationary Hospital suffering from pleurisy. He spent a month recovering, rejoining his battalion on 13 June.

On 17 July Alfred sustained gunshot wounds to his left thigh and shoulder. He was admitted to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital in Boulogne, but promptly transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in England.

Alfred was not discharged from hospital until 13 November 1917. On 21 April 1918 he embarked HMAT A29 Suevic for return to Australia. He disembarked in Sydney on 8 June and was discharged from the AIF on 11 July 1918.

When Alfred returned to Orange on 10 June 1918 he was accorded an official welcome by the Mayor, William Bouffler, who greeted him and two other soldiers – William Davidson and Philip Edward Hines – at the Orange Railway Station as the Model Band played Home Sweet Home.

In March 1921 Alfred married Christina Warren at St John’s Presbyterian Church in Orange. The couple had two children: Norman and Audrey.

During the 1930s the family lived in William Street in Orange and Alf worked as a fettler. In the 1940s they moved to Sydney; 1949 census records list their address as 35 Storey Street Rozelle, and Alfred’s occupation as fettler.

Alfred Allen McConnell died at his Storey Street home on 4 February 1952, aged 64. Christina continued to live in Rozelle; she died on 26 September 1970, aged 74.

Alfred’s cousins, Charles Cornelius McConnell and Donald McConnell also served in WWI. Charles died of disease during his service; Donald returned to Australia in March 1919.