Topic: George Arthur Kelly (1871-1932)

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George Arthur Kelly served in the South African War (Boer War) (1899-1902) and also during World War I (1914-1918) where he was wounded in action in France. He was my second great uncle - Debbie McCauley (2015). Photographs courtesy of Trevor Kelly (Australia).

George Arthur Kelly (1871-1932)George Arthur Kelly was born in Cloonbur, Galway, Ireland on 12 July 1871. His father, Richard Kelly, was born in Wicklow, Ireland, in 1835 to Thomas and Elizabeth Kelly (nee Taylor). His mother was Bridget Jane Bell, daughter of Joshua Bell.

Richard Kelly, in addition to being a farmer, was head game-keeper to Lord Ardilaun in County Galway, Ireland. Arthur Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Ardilaun, 2nd Baronet (1840-1915), known as Sir Arthur Guinness, Bt, between 1868 and 1880, was an Irish businessman, politician, and philanthropist.  

Richard died prior to 1879. His eldest children, Elizabeth Annie and Thomas Henry Kelly appear to have immigrated to New Zealand aboard the Glenlora in 1880. Bridget and some of their other children, including George, immigrated to Australia eleven years later, aboard the Oroya, arriving in October 1891. Bridget died in Australia on 4 August 1923.

George served in the South African War (Boer War) (1899-1902) as a Corporal with the Victorian Imperial Bushmen, Dragoon Guards (Service Number: 155).

George married Ella Holland in Australia in 1908. He worked as a Grocer for twenty-six years.

On 22 February 1916 George enlisted as a Gunner during the First World War (Service Number: 28390) from Blackboy Hill in Western Australia. His enlistment papers note that he carried a scar from an appendix operation.

He embarked on 25 October 1916 from Melbourne aboard the HMAT Ulysses A38 and served with the Field Artillery Brigade 14, Reinforcement 7.

They disembarked at Plymouth, England on 28 December 1916. Marched into RBAA, Larkhill on 29 December 1916. 

On 20 February 1917 George's cousin Frank Walker (1883-1953) sent two postcards from France of La basilique Notre-Dame de Brebières d'Albert (Somme) to his sister Mary Jane Walker in Australia. The second postcard records: ... footway, have often viewed this scene of desolation. Hope you are all well, also Inglewood folk. Geo Kelly [George Arthur Kellybrother of Alicia Mary Kellyis here somewhere, so Loll [Alicia Mary Kelly] says in her last letter. She has just recovered a severe cold. Am A.I. myself although the weather is so cold. Love to all, Frank.

La basilique Notre-Dame de Brebières d'Albert (Somme) postcard from Frank to Mary Walker (20 February 1917) (page 2 of 2)

George and his unit embarked at Southampton and proceeded to France on 15 August 1917. They marched into Australian General Base Depot, Rouelles on 16 August 1917. The unit moved out on 20 August 1917. They marched into 4th Divisional Ammunition Column and were taken on strength on 22 August 1917.

George transferred to 11th Field Artillery Brigade and was taken on strength on 20 September 1917. He was posted to 41st Battery on 20 September.

He was admitted to the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance on 5 October 1917, and then transferred to 16th Casualty Clearing Station suffering the effects of a gunshot wound to the fingers of his right hand. He was sent to the 17th General Hospital in Etaples on 6 October 1917. From there he was sent to England on th HS Princess on 10 October 1917. He was admitted to the Military Hospital at Devonport on 11 October 1917. George was transferred to the 3rd Auxiliary Hospital at Dartford on 2 November 1917. He was discharged on 7 November 1917 and marched into No 2 Command Depot at Weymouth.

George returned to Australia on 21 December 1917 aboard the Persic. He disembarked at the 5th Military District on 4 December 1918. He was discharged in Perth on 12 April 1918.

George died at 95 Mary Street, Fremantle, Australia on 14 October 1932. The West Australian carried his death notice on 15 October 1932:

Dearly beloved husband of Ella, fond brother of Leila and Sarah Kelly; fond brother-in-law of Mrs Jose (Clontarf) and beloved friend of Mr and Mrs Mann (Fremantle).

He was buried in Fremantle Cemetery. 



Australian War Memorial [Boer War].

Australian War Memorial [World War I].

National Archives of Australia [War Record - World War I].

The AIF Project.

Trevor Kelly (Australia).

West Australian (15 October 1932).

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George Arthur Kelly (1871-1932)

Note:Service Number: 155
First Names:George Arthur
Last Name:Kelly
Date of Birth:12 July 1871
Place of Birth:Cloonbur, Galway
Country of birth:Ireland
Date of death:14 October 1932
Place of death:Fremantle, Australia
Spouses name:Ella Holland
Date of marriage:1908
Place of marriage:Australia
Fathers name:Richard Kelly
Fathers date of birth:c1836
Fathers place of birth:Wicklow, County Wicklow, Ireland
Fathers date of death:23 March 1879
Fathers place of death:Ballykine, County Mayo, Ireland
Mothers name:Bridget Jane Bell
Mothers date of birth:1839
Mothers place of birth:Wicklow, County Wicklow, Ireland
Mothers date of death:4 August 1923
Mothers place of death:East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Military Service:South African War (Boer War) (1899-1902) and World War I (1914-1918)