Patrick John O'Reilly
Serial No. 5668
Patrick John O'Reilly - Information
Patrick was born and raised in Cox’s River in Picton. Patrick trained as a school teacher, and began working at a Public School in Lockhart. When he was 26, he enlisted in the AIF on the 1st of December 1915 in Cootamundra. He commenced his training there with the 48th Battalion. He was then appointed Acting Corporal at Liverpool Base assigned to the 15th Reinforcements, 20th Battalion. He was then sent overseas on the HMAT Euripides, which departed Sydney on the 9th of September 1916.
Patrick sailed to Plymouth Harbour in late October, and in December, left Folkestone for the Western Front. He joined the 20th Battalion during the worst winter of the war. In the new year, fierce fighting followed the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line, as the Allies engaged their vanguard troops. Patrick and his unit hit them at Lagnicourt and then assaulted the Hindenburg Line during the Second Battle of Bullecourt. Later in the year, the 20th Battalion fought in the Third Battle of Ypres. During these attacks, Patrick was wounded in action on the 3rd of October with a bullet wound to his right thigh. The 3rd Field Ambulance took him to the 10th Casualty Clearing Station. He was admitted to the 1st South African General Hospital in Abbeville, and on the 11th of October, was evacuated to England. Patrick recuperated and was sent back to France in early February 1918. In March, the Germans launched their Spring Offensive, an attempt to crush the Allies before the bulk of American troops were in France. The Germans gained much ground, and the Allies launched counter attack after counter attack to try and halt the advance. The 20th Battalion achieved this at Hangard Wood. On the 6th of May, Patrick was appointed Lance Corporal, and then Temporary Corporal on the 17th. The Allies were successful and began to push the Germans back. This was achieved with the Battle of Amiens beginning on the 8th of August, in what German General Ludendorff described as the ‘black day of the German Army.’ Patrick was then wounded on the 11th of August, when he was hit in the left shoulder. He was admitted to the 5th General Hospital, and by the end of the month, was evacuated to England to Beaufort War Hospital. He was still in hospital when the war ended. He was sent back to Australia in March 1919. Patrick returned to his civilian life, and by 1934 was living in Yerrimbool.