Daniel Terence Byrnes was born in Orange in 1887. He was the fourth son of Peter Byrnes and Jane Maria Byrnes (nee Sherry), a well-known family of the Burdett area near Canowindra. Daniel, along with his brother, Peter Christopher Byrnes, enlisted at Marrickville on 1 May 1916.
As a young man Daniel Byrnes worked on farms. He later joined LA Fosbery and Co, stock and station agent in Wagga Wagga, where he was employed as a clerk.
With his brother Peter, and several other young men from Wagga Wagga, Daniel embarked on board HMAT A11 Ascanius at Sydney on 25 October 1916. According to a letter from Gunner GW Browne, also a Wagga lad, published in the Daily Advertiser on 23 February 1917, the journey was not without event. The troop ship was forced to pull into Sierra Leone along with other ships from Australia and New Zealand due to German activity in the Atlantic Ocean. Eventually they set sail for England under escort and arrived at Devonport, near Plymouth, on 28 December 1916. According to the article, it was the worst Christmas dinner the soldiers had eaten because of lack of supplies due to the unexpected layover.
Once in England, Daniel was marched out to Swanage on 10 January 1917 and then taken on strength with the 36th Heavy Artillery Group, 22nd Howitzer Battery. In July of the same year he was transferred to France as a gunner.
On 30 October 1917 Daniel was admitted to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station suffering from myalgia, an injury sustained while attempting to lift the trail of an artillery piece. Daniel was transferred to the Mile End Military Hospital in England in November and then returned to Australia via HMAT Argyllshire in December 1918, suffering chronic myalgia. He was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force as medically unfit on 14 February 1919.
After a couple of years working in the Sydney area, Daniel Byrnes returned to Wagga Wagga and commenced business as a Crown Lands Agent and General Commission Agent. He was an active member of the local community; newspaper articles show that he participated in the construction of the Victory Memorial Gardens in Wagga Wagga and tree planting projects in several locations in the town. He was actively involved in the repatriation of men returning from the War, helping them acquire Soldier Settlement plots. He sat on the local Council and was Mayor of Wagga Wagga from 1924 to 1925 and the following year became president of the local RSSILA (Returned Sailors’, Soldiers’ and Airmens’ Imperial League of Australia).
In 1954 Daniel contested the seat of Farrer unsuccessfully as a Labor Candidate.
Daniel Byrnes remained in Wagga Wagga until 1955 when he moved to Maroubra in Sydney.
In 1958 Byrnes Road in Bomen, Wagga Wagga, was named in Daniel’s honour.
On a personal level, Daniel Terence Byrnes married Lydia Cramp, the daughter of Alfred Cramp of Cowra, in Sydney in 1914. Mrs Byrnes died in Wagga Wagga in 1944; her obituary made no mention of children from this marriage. In 1945 Daniel remarried Mary Cecilia Dwyer in Concord. She pre-deceased him in 1968.
Daniel Terence Byrnes died in Sydney on 17 June 1974 aged 87. He was laid to rest in at Rookwood Cemetery (RC Lawn 4, Row 20, Plot 709).
Daniel is remembered on a plaque at the New South Wales Garden of Remembrance
* Sharon Jameson, October 2018