Matthew Farrelly

Name: Matthew Edward Farrelly

Rank: Sergeant

Service Number: 1948

Units Served: 6th Battalion

Personal Details: Mathew was the son of Tom Farrelly, from the Victorian town of Porepunkah, Australia. He stated his occupation as "Engine Driver" on his enlistment form. 
Enlistment Details: Matthew enlisted on March 2nd 1915 and was posted in the 5th Reinforcement of the 6th Battalion.
Details about his role in War: Matthew was a part of the 6th Battalion which together with the 5th, 7th and 8th Battalions formed the 2nd Brigade.
Mathew left Melbourne aboard the Hororata on the 12th April 1915 and joined the 6th Battalion on Gallipoli on the 10th July 1915. On the 28th of July he was evacuated off of Gallipoli with pneumonia and dysentery and was eventually sent to England for treatment. He stayed there until the 21st February 1916 when he left for Egypt arriving at Alexandria on the 5th March, rejoining his battalion on the 11th. 2 weeks later he was back on the boat, heading for Marseilles with the rest of his battalion to fight on the Western Front, arriving on the 30th March. After travelling by train across France the battalion was soon on the front line in the “Nursery Sector” near Fleurbaix in northern France. Here the soldiers learned the routines and skills required to live and fight in the trenches and undertook raids into the German trenches to collect intelligence. On the 23rd May, Matthew was promoted to Lance Sergeant. The battalion then moved south to the Somme region where it was involved in the heavy fighting around Pozieres. On the 20th August during fighting for Mouquet Farm, Matthew was hit by shell fragments in the face and neck. He was sent to hospital in Etaples, but after recovering from his injuries he fell sick with dysentery, eventually ending up back in England to receive further treatment. He stayed there until February 1917, when he was granted a weeks furlough. While he was in hospital, on the 4th January, he was mentioned in dispatches for his work from March to August 1916. The recommendation read as follows “Lance Sergeant Farrelly is a brave and willing worker, and during the whole period performed consistently good work. In the Fleurbaix sector his work was exceptionally good. He was very keen on taking out wiring parties and patrols in to “No Man’s Land”. He was conspicuous in the raid on enemy trenches on the 12 -13th June 1916. At POZIERES he was wounded, but remained with the platoon until his battalion was relieved, when he was evacuated to hospital.” He eventually arrived back in France on the 6th April, but didn’t join his battalion until the 23rd May. 3 days later he was promoted to full sergeant. He was sick once more in July but returned to the battalion after one week. The battalion was involved in the Battle of Menin Road on the 20th September 1917 and it was during this battle that Matthew was killed in action.

The following article was written in the Alpine Observer and North-East Herald on 12yth October 1917, (sourced through Trove) 

Information was received in Bright Thursday afternoon that Sergeant M.E. Farrelly, fifth son of Mr and Mrs Farelly, of Porepunkah, had been killed in action on the 20th ult. Sergeant Farrelly was a single man, and a splendid type of Australian soldier. He had seen a good deal of hard fighting, and had made such headway in the ranks as to gain sergeant's stripe. Much sympathy has been expressed for his parents, brothers and sisters in their sad bereavement The flag at the Shire Hall was flown half-mast on Thursday afternoon as a mark of respect for the departed hero.

Age at Death:  Matthew Edward Farrelly’s age is unknown due to contradictory legal documents.

Memorial Details: Ypres(Menin Gate) Memorial
Interesting Material: Matthew was mentioned in dispatches on the 4th January 1917 for distinguished and gallant services, and devotion to duty.

Commemorated by


Kate Ford

10th December 2008