NAME: George Joseph David Herlihy
SERVICE NO: 3342
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1895
PLACE OF BIRTH: Balmoral
DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 15 July 1915
PLACE OF ENLISTMENT: Melbourne
AGE AT ENLISTMENT: 20
UNIT: 7th Battalion
EMBARKED: 11 October 1915
TROOPSHIP: HMAT A71 Nestor
FATE: Killed in Action – France -11 April 1918
George Joseph David Herlihy was born at Balmoral in 1895 to horse-breaker Michael Herlihy and Edith Davis. After George’s birth, the Herlihys moved to Hamilton, residing in Stephens Street. George attended St. Mary’s Convent school.
On 15 July 15, George, a jockey, enlisted in Melbourne under the name George Hurley. He later signed a statutory declaration stating his name was really George Herlihy. He embarked on 11 October 1915 aboard the HMAT A71 Nestor with the 7th Battalion 11th reinforcements. The battalion landed in Egypt but only spent a few months there. Much of that time George was hospitalised with mumps. The battalion then moved on to France in April 1916. On 17 July 1916, the Hamilton Spectator published a letter from George home to his mother:
We have been in the trenches for a while now, and it is not bad where we are at all. When we hear the bullets whistle in the air we “duck” our heads – it comes natural to a man to cover his head up when he hears something coming. A shell burst within three feet of me the other day and I never got a scratch. I was pretty lucky. The bursting shell lifted the parapet about two feet.
George was mentioned in dispatches in September 1916 after a successful raid on enemy trenches.
For most of 1917, George was hospitalised in England with illness. He rejoined his battalion in December that year.
The 7th Battalion unit diary states that on 11 April 1918 the battalion was given orders to move. Their packs were loaded onto trucks and taken to the St. Rochs Railway Station at Amiens. George Herlihy was part of the advance party that took the packs to the station while the rest of the battalion marched. When the battalion was about a mile from the station, a shell fell in the station yard killing four members of the advance party, including George Herlihy. Another thirteen were wounded.
Three of George’s brothers enlisted, including Harry Herlihy a saddler was awarded a Military Medal while serving with the 14th Battalion.