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Shirley William Robert Kelly


Serial No:
Serial No. 1436

33rd Battalion


Shirley William Robert Kelly - Information

When Shirley decided to enlist in the AIF, he was living in Ingleburn and working on a dairy farm. Shirley was born in Perth on the 20th of November 1897. His father then moved the family to Ingleburn. Shirley remained in Ingleburn, as his family relocated again to Northumberland Ave in Petersham. Just after Shirley turned 18, and with his father’s permission he signed up in Armidale on the 29th of November 1915. Upon joining up, he was placed with the Signal Section of the 33rd Battalion. He departed Sydney Harbour on the 4th of May 1916 onboard the HMAT Marathon.

Shirley disembarked in England, where he commenced further training. While he was at Larkhill in late October, Shirley demonstrated the Aussie larrikinism and disregard for authority. He went absent without leave for three days and failed to present himself for a church parade. He was fined 31 days pay. On the 21st of November, he proceeded overseas to France. At the time, the Western Front was hit by the worst winter of the war. After enduring the bitter cold, the Battalion was moved to the Ypres sector in Belgium, for upcoming operations, which came with the Battle of Messines on the 7th of June. Despite effective preliminary bombardments and the explosion of mines, the Anzacs rose up in No Man’s Land which was concurrently laced with heavy gun and artillery fire. Shirley was struck down in the field and luckily rescued by stretcher bearers. He was carried away by the 9th Field Ambulance but later died of his wounds on the 8th of June on his way to a casualty station. He was buried in the Strand Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert in Belgium. His effects were sent to his mother Kathleen Kelly in Guildford.