James Kennedy Dunne

September 6, 2015

DUNNE, James Kennedy – – – – SPC 1914

DoB:- – 1896, Surry Hills, NSW

Father:- – Edward Dunne (sometimes Dunn)

Mother:- – Elizabeth, nee Holmes

James Kennedy Dunne (sometimes known as Kennedy James Dunne) was a boarder at St Patrick’s from Sydney. He passed the Junior Public Service examinations in Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, English, French (Distinct- ion), Latin, and History (Distinction).

Service No:- 4595

Rank:- – Private

Unit:- – 3rd Battalion

James Dunne enlisted at Liverpool, Sydney on 7 September 1915 as a single man, whose occupation was brewery worker. He was 19 years and seven months old, five feet, seven and one half inches tall, with a sallow complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He initially nominated his aunt, Mrs Mary Akers as his next of kin, and indeed she provided her written permission for her nephew to enlist as -‘-¦ he has been in my care since his mother’s death’. At a later date, James’ brother Edward John Dunne was nominated as his next of kin. It seems that they all lived at 16 Short Street, Woollahra, so possibly the boys moved in with their aunt upon the deaths of their parents.

Private Dunne embarked for active service abroad on 15 January 1916, sailing first to Egypt. After some weeks training, he proceeded from Alexandria on 29 March as part of the British Expeditionary Forces who landed at Marseilles, France. In May, Dunne was admitted briefly to the 26th General Hospital at Etaples with a tumour in his arm. He returned to his unit on 8 June 1916, but was wounded in action on 25 July, and was admitted to hospital at Rouen suffering from shell shock. He underwent treatment and convalesced until 26 August when he rejoined his unit again.

Over the next couple of months, Private Dunne received medical treatment on his -‘defective teeth’ in September, and for -‘debility’ in November of 1916. Early in January 1917, he was plagued by synovitis (inflammation) of his left knee and transferred to the 6th General Hospital at Rouen. By 14 March he had rejoined his unit, but his knee was causing considerable pain and discomfort and Dunne was finally transferred to hospital in Colchester, England for treatment for the synovitis. He remained in the UK for most of 1917, and then succumbed to Influenza in January 1918. He was deemed fit enough to proceed back to France by 21 February 1918, where he rejoined his unit.

On 27 June, 1918, Private Dunne was wounded in action for the second time, suffering from being gassed. He was admitted to the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, and transferred via the 2nd Australian General Hospital, arriving at the Convalescent Camp by 12 July1918. By the end of July he was back in his unit, and was wounded in action for the third occasion on 23 August, suffering a gunshot wound to his left leg. He was evacuated out to England where he remained until he was prepared for his return to Australia. Private Dunne embarked from Southampton aboard the Morvada in early January 1919, disembarking at Melbourne on 20 February, still recuperating from the wound to his leg.

After disembarking, Private Dunne continued to receive treatment on his knee. The -‘Medical Report on an Invalid’ form filled out in March 1919 provides details about the injury, and states that the -‘-¦ bullet entered behind and lateral aspect left knee -¦ removed by operation. At site of operation, indolent sore two inches by three quarters, refuses to heal, no injury to ext. pop [exterior popliteal space, ie, the shallow depression located at the back of the knee joint].’ Dunne’s condition and progress was described as -‘-¦ not healed. Cyanosis of leg and oedema, marked on walking, probable nerve mitation -¦’

By June, Dunne had undergone an operation on his knee, and the Medical Board declared that he had -‘No disability now’. He was confirmed as ready for discharge, which occurred at Sydney on 9 September 1919.

James Kennedy Dunne resumed his working life at the Adelaide Brewery in Woollahra, Sydney, and electoral rolls reveal that he lived until 1934 at 24 Adelaide Street, seemingly remaining a single man.

Correspondence from the war office in 1926 showed that James’ brother, Edward also enlisted in the AIF. Because he was underage, he adopted his mother’s maiden name as his surname in an effort to escape detection. He signed up as Edward Holmes, and was appointed as Private 1912A to the 5th Machine Gun Battalion. Tragically, Edward was severely wounded and died of gunshot wounds to his chest on 23 April 1918. He was buried at St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. His effects, which were earmarked for his aunt, Mrs Mary Akers, were lost at sea when the SS Barukga was sunk by enemy action.