The AIF Project

Martin O'MEARA

Regimental number3970
Date of birth31 December 1882
Place of birthTerryglass, Co Tipperary, Ireland
ReligionRoman Catholic
AddressBowling Pool via Collie, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation29
Height5' 7"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinSister, Miss A O'Meara, Rath Cubbin, Birr, Ireland
Enlistment date19 August 1915
Place of enlistmentBlackboy Hill, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name16th Battalion, 12th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/33/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A31 Ajana on 22 December 1915
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll16th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Victoria Cross

Recommendation date: 16 August 1916

FateReturned to Australia 15 September 1918

Victoria Cross

'For most conspicuous bravery. During four days of very heavy fighting he repeatedly went out and brought in wounded officers and men from "No Man's Land" under intense artillery and machine gun fire. He also volunteered and carried up ammunition and bombs through a heavy barrage to a portion of the trenches, which was being heavily shelled at the time. He showed throughout an utter contempt of danger, and undoubtedly saved many lives.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 184
Date: 14 December 1916

Discharge date30 November 1919
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 16th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 7 March 1916.

Proceeded overseas from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 1 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 9 June 1916.

Wounded in action (no details recorded), remained at duty, 12 August 1916; admitted to 13th Field Ambulance, 13 August 1916; transferred to 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, 13 August 1916 (gun shot wound, abdomen); to No 11 Stationary Hospital, 16 August 1916; to England, and admitted to 3rd London General Hospital, 19 August 1916; marched in to No 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs, 9 October 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 4 December 1916; rejoined Bn, 22 December 1916.

Awarded the Victoria Cross, September 1916.

Major F. Black stated: 'On the morning of the 11th Aug, O'Meara was on scouting duty in No Man's Land. At this time some three machine guns were firing over the section of ground which he was examining and it was also being very heavily shelled by H.E. shells. About ten minutes after I saw him go over the parapet into No Man's Land I saw him return carrying a wounded man whom he had found lying in a shell hole in No Man's Land. Having dressed the wounds of this man he returned to No Man's Land in pursuance of his duties as a Scout. My notice was again drawn to this man on the morning of the 12th when the section of trench was occupied by my Coy was being heavily bombed by H.E. and Shrapnel. I withdrew the garrison to either flank from one portion that was in process of being completely obliterated which subsequently happened; one man failed to get out in time and was buried. O'Meara despite the overwhelming fire at once rushed to the spot, extricated the man concerned and thereby undoubtedly saved his life. During the advance of the Bn on the night of 9-10th a number of men were wounded and left lying on the ground over which the advance had been made and subsequently on the 11-12th runners and carriers who had occasion to cross this area were wounded there. I saw O'Meara on many occasions on the 10-11-12th Aug: searching the ground for wounded to whom he rendered first aid and whom he subsequently brought in or assisted to bring in.'

Admitted to 4th Australian Field Ambulance, 3 January 1917 (sprained ankle); transferred to 1st Anzac Rest Station, 4 January 1917.

Wounded in action (2nd occasion), 9 April 1917 (shrapnel wound, face); admitted to 4th Australian Field Ambulance, 9 April 1917; transferred to 9th Casualty Clearing Station, 9 April 1917; to 3rd Stationary Hospital, Rouen, 12 April 1917; discharged to 4th Australian Division Base Depot, Etaples, 16 April 1917; rejoined Bn, 25 April 1917.

Wounded in action (3rd occasion), 8 August 1917 (shrapnel wound, buttock, right thigh and back), and admitted to 4th Australian Field Ambulance; transferred to 2nd Casualty Clearing station, 8 August 1917; to 2nd Canadian General Hospital, 11 August 1917; to England, 18 August 1917, and admitted to Bath war Hospital, 20 August 1917 (shrapnel wound, left buttock and back, right thigh: severe). Granted furlough, 18 October 1917, to report to No 1 Command Depot, Sutton Veny, 19 November 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 10 January 1918; rejoined Bn, 18 January 1918.

Appointed Corporal, 13 March 1918; Acting Sergeant, 22 March 1918.

Detached to 2nd Army Musketry School, 23 March 1918; rejoined Bn, 15 April 1918.

Reverted to permanent grade of Corporal at own request, 15 April 1918.

Detached to SOS School, 12 July 1918; rejoined Bn, 2 August 1918.

Promoted Sergeant, 30 August 1918.

Commenced return to Australia on board 'Arawa', 15 September 1918; disembarked Western Australia, 10 November 1918; discharged, 30 November 1919.

Medals: Victoria Cross, British War Medal, Victory Medal

OC, 24th Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Stromness, reported, 19 December 1918, that O'Meara 'is suffering from Delusional Insanity, with hallucinations of hearing and sight, is extremely homicidal and suicidal, and requires to be kept in restraint. He is not hopeful of his recovery in the near future.' Admitted to Claremont Mental Hospital (insane patient), 3 January 1919; died, 20 December 1935.

Left funds in his will for the restoration of Lorrha Abbey, Ireland; funds proved insufficient; used to rebuild parish church instead.
Date of death20 December 1935
Age at death52
Place of burialKarrakatta Cemetery, Perth, Western Australia

© The AIF Project 2024, UNSW Canberra. Not to be reproduced without permission.