Louis Kevin Vincent O’Doherty

August 4, 2015

O’DOHERTY, Louis Kevin Vincent- – – – SPC 1904-1905

DoB:- – 7 November 1888, Queensland

Father:- – Vincent O’Doherty

Mother:- – Helen

Louis O’Doherty was a boarder at St Patrick’s from Brisbane. He was a prize winner in the Commercial Class of 1905, and was one of the editors of the College Annual in that year.

Service No:- 3211

Rank:- – Private

Unit:- – 52nd Battalion

Louis O’Doherty enlisted on 16 October 1916, at the age of 27 years and 11 months. He was an unmarried man, who was an architect working as a government works inspector. He was five feet, 11 and a half inches tall, with a dark complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair.

Private O’Doherty embarked from Sydney aboard the Demosthenes on 23 December 1916, disembarking at Plymouth, England, on 3 March 1917. From here he proceeded to further training at Codford. He was hospitalised for mumps in April 1917.

He proceeded overseas to France on 25 June 1917. The following year, on 5 April 1918, he was reported wounded and missing at Dernancourt. He was later reported as having been killed in action.

Eyewitness reports compiled for the Australian Red Cross enquiry file reveal the circumstances of Louis’ death:

-‘-¦ One of B Coy was standing near at the time, he was a stranger to me, heard me enquiring [about O’Doherty] and told me O’Doherty was near him at the time when the Hun attacked, he was shot through the chest apparently penetrating the lung, as he was coughing blood -¦ I was deeply grieved to hear the news as I knew O’Doherty in civilian days -¦’

-‘-¦ This man was in my Platoon and was killed beside me at Dernancourt on the Railway. Fritz attacked on April 5th about 6am. Killed by a bullet through the head -¦ He wore glasses. We have always called him LKV. As soon as he got hit we drew his body out of the Railway -¦ I am confident that he was killed -“ bullet went in at forehead and out at back, making a big wound -¦’

-‘-¦ I saw him shot threw [sic] the head by a sniper’s bullet (forehead) he being killed instantly -¦ He was very well liked in the Coy by all -¦’

-‘-¦ I saw him shot through the head about dawn on the Railway line at Dernancourt. Fritz was attacking at the time. O’D was killed instantly -¦’

Louis Kevin Vincent O’Doherty is remembered at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, France.

PostScript –

In the College Annual of 1905, there is a tribute to Louis’ grandfather:

-‘Though Louis O’Doherty is an Editor of this Annual, we cannot see that it is any breach of decorum that his fellow-editors should give voice to the sentiment of the whole College, and tender him heart-felt sympathy on the loss he suffers in the death of his illustrious grandfather, Kevin Izod O’Doherty, -the last of the ’48 men-, and it is fitting that this expression of condolence should be extended to the deceased patriot’s wife, once so well-known as -Eva- of the Nation newspaper.’

Kevin Izod O’Doherty was involved with the Young Ireland movement, a failed Irish nationalist uprising in 1848. He was also co-editor of the nationalist Irish Tribune. He was sentenced to transportation to Tasmania for treason-felony at Dublin in August 1848.

In June 1853 he received a conditional pardon, which forbade residence in the UK, and he went to live in Paris from where he made a secret visit to London to marry Mary Eva Kelly on 23 August 1855. He received an unconditional pardon the following year, and he returned to Dublin and graduated as a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in June 1857 and set up practice.

O’Doherty returned to Australia in 1860, and settled in Brisbane in 1865 where he became a leading physician, carrying out extensive honorary work at Catholic hospitals. In 1872 he was responsible for the first Health Act in Queensland. He was also a leading figure in the Queensland Irish Association, and was elected president of the Irish Australian Convention held in Melbourne in 1883.

Kevin Izod O’Doherty died on 15 July 1905 at his home in Torwood, Brisbane, survived by his wife and one of his eight children. The Queensland Irish Association raised a monument over his grave in Toowong cemetery. His wife was a poet, known as -‘Eva of the -Nation-,’ and continued to write throughout her married life, her poems written in Qld had a tone of sadness and longing for Ireland.