The AIF Project

James Roy FELAN

Regimental number1547
Place of birthMorpeth, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationTeacher
Addressc/o F O'Neill, Parkville near Scone, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation30
Height5' 6.25"
Weight146 lbs
Next of kinFather, J Felan, 46 Annandale Street, Annandale, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date22 April 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll8 April 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentCorporal
Unit name17th Battalion, 1st Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 12 May 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll17th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 27 July 1916
Place of burialLondon Cemetery and Extension (Plot I, Row F, Grave No 19), Longueval, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
82
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Promoted Corporal, Heliopolis, 12 August 1915.

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 16 August 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria from Mudros, 9 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 17 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 23 March 1916.

Killed in action, 26 July-7 August 1916.

Fate confirmed as killed in action, 27 July 1916.

Originally listed as 'No known grave', and name inscribed on the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux.

Grave of unknown soldier found east of Pozieres; body identified as that of Felan: reburied in London Cemetery Extension, 1936.

Statement, Red Cross File No 1041109G, 2604 Pte F. CURTIS, 17th Bn (patient, No 2 Canadian General Hospital, Le Treport), 20 November 1916: 'He had been a schoolmaster. He with Pte Hodge were carrying rations up to the Welsh regiment and were in Suicide Alley when he was killed by a shell. We buried him just at the back of the parapet. It was all we could do.'

Second statement, 1958 Lance Corporal J.M. KENTWELL, 17th Bn (patient, 5th Southern General Hospital, Portsmouth, England), 21 November 1916: 'Informant states that on the 2nd night of the battle of Pozieres at Pozieres, Cpl. Felan was taking rations up and was killed by a shell, death being instantaneous. Informant helped take a ring off Felan's finger. He (Felan) was buried in a trench in "Suicide Alley" and a stick was put up at the head of the grave.'

Third statement, 2688 Pte Charles JONES, D Company, 17th Bn (patient, 3rd Southern General Hospital, Oxford, England), 22 November 1916: 'Informant states that on Tuesday, July 27th at Pozieres Cpl. Felan was killed by a shell. He was on ration fatigue at the time, and was either in the first line or Supports. He was buried a few days later behind the front line. I believe that several men were killed or wounded by the same shell ... Cpl. Felan (D. XVI.) was practically the first of our men to be killed. He was known to every one on account of the peculiar shape he wore his hat. We none of us could twist ours in the same way.'

Fourth statement, 2783 Pte A.L. STEEL, 17th Bn (patient, Dudley Road Hospital, Birmingham, England), 26 November 1916: 'On July 27th 1916, at Pozieres (between that place and Contalmaison), Felan and L/Cpl. Johnston, Sergt. Rockcliffe and Pte Hodge were on ration fatigue. They were killed by a shell. I got a white wooden painted cross from the ration dump in "Sausage Valley". His name was painted on it. I gave it to the boys in the line to be placed on his grave.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, FELAN James Roy
Red Cross File No 1041109G

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