The AIF Project

Francis Walter McKAY

Regimental number3182
Place of birthAriah Park, New South Wales
SchoolAriah Park Public School, New South Wales
OccupationMotor mechanic
AddressOakwood, Ariah Park, Temora, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Height5' 10.5"
Weight168 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs E McKay, Oakwood, Ariah Park, Temora, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date12 September 1915
Place of enlistmentHolsworthy, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name20th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/37/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A29 Suevic on 20 December 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll14th Machine Gun Company
FateKilled in Action 20 July 1916
Place of death or woundingFleurbaix, France (Battle of Fromelles)
Age at death23
Age at death from cemetery records23
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsV.C. Corner (Panel No 23), Australian Cemetery Memorial, Fromelles, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Robert and Emily McKAY, Oakwood, Ariah Park, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Allotted to and proceeded to join 56th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 16 February 1916.

Transferred to 14th Machine Gun Company, 10 March 1916.

Detached to School of Instruction, Zeitoun, 1 April 1916; rejoined unit, Ferry Post, 23 april 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 25 June 1916.

Reported missing, 20 July 1916.

Court of Enquiry, held in the field, 14 September 1917, pronounced fate as 'Killed in Action, 20 July 1916'.

Note, Red Cross File No 1920511: 'No trace Germany. Cert. by Capt. Mills. 10.10.19.'

Statement, 2699 Pte J. KELLY, 24 August 1916: 'I knew McKay and the man on his gun. Pte Alf. Howard, who was the next man to McKay on the gun, told Pte. Jackson, who told me, that McKay was killed on the 19th. July last at Fleurbaix.'

Second statement, 5366 Pte J.T. FIRMAN, 14th Machine Gun Company (patient, 5th Southern General Hospital, Portsmouth, England), 5 December 1916: 'Informant states that on July 20th at Fromelles, France, Cpl. told me that Mackay (sic) was killed by a shell just behind him as they were retreating with the gun.'

Third statement, 2641 Pte J. EVANS, 14th Machine Gun Company (patient, Kitchener's Hospital, Brighton, England), 13 December 1916: 'Informant states that on 19th July at Fromelles he saw McKay killed by a sniper whilst he was in the German lines, with his machine gun, his body was left there.'

Fourth statement, Corporal H.C. HOWARD, 14th Machine Gun Company, 28 December 1916: 'The morning of the 20th of July last when we had a raid, he and I were together all the time; we were over in the German lines and when the order came that we had to retire to our own front line, we came back as far as the German front line together, but I got into the sap leading across No Man's Land first and he stood up on the parapet, and said he would hop down in a minute. Well, I walked about 50 yards away from him and looked back, and he was missing, but just where I had left him a shell had fallen - right on the spot where he was standing, so I can assure you that he must have been blown to pieces. He was never taken prisoner because he was too near to be taken, and besides there were many men that we had left back further in the German lines, why they came back about half an hour after I did. You can rest assured that Pte. F.W. McKay met his death on the 20th July 1916, fighting for his country.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, McKAY Francis Walter
Red Cross File No 1920511

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