Pte
John Bernard Connell

Information about birth

Year of birth:
1890
Place of birth:
Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia

General information

Profession:
Labourer

Army information

Country:
Australia
Force:
Australian Imperial Force
Rank:
Private
Service number:
2885
Enlistment date:
03/10/1916
Enlistment place:
Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia
Units:
 —  Australian Infantry, 57th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
27/09/1917
Place of death:
Jerk House, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
27

Cemetery

Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Plot: XVIII
Row: B
Grave: 10

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 2

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place

Additional information

Private John Bernard Connell served in the Australian Infantry 57th Battalion, part of the 15th Australian Brigade, of the 5th Australian Division.
The 57th Australian Battalion departed for their bivouacs at Zouave Wood on the 24th of September. They were to participate in the Battle for Polygon Wood on the 26th of September 1917 and moved to the frontline at Polygon Wood on the 25th of September.
The attack on Polygon Wood was to be carried out by the 59th Battalion, they would take the first objective. The 31st Battalion on the right and 29th Battalion on the left would then push through to the second objective. The 57th was to be in support on the Divisional right flank. They laid out tape and organized work- and carrying parties in preparation of the attack. The Battalion also delivered the guides to guide the attacking Battalions to their designated positions.
At 5.50 a.m. in the morning of the 26th of September 1917 a barrage opened and the attack moved forward only three minutes later. “A” Company had been ordered to follow up the attacking Battalions to protect the right flank. The Company got hit by a heavy German barrage. The battered and disorganized Company pulled back and men of the 60th Battalion took over the right flank. “C” and “D” Companies were put to work as carrying parties to supply the troops with ammunition and water. Meanwhile the 59th Battalion succeeded in taking the first objective. All companies except “B” Company were organized as carrying parties. “B” Company was sent forward with the remainder of the ammunition and were to work on the wire at the old frontline. They were held in the front area to help the 59th Battalion fend off possible counterattacks.
At 13.05 p.m. the 29th and 31st Battalion reached the second objective. At 2.40 p.m. carrying companies were held at the line, in anticipation of German counterattacks, until the situation cleared. The carrying parties were released, to continue their work, one hour later. The Germans counter attacked at 6.35 p.m. behind a barrage. But the attack was dispersed by an allied artillery barrage. The German barrage continued until 8 p.m. Carrying parties were resumed after the barrage died down. The Battalion was then ordered to re-organize and occupy the old frontline at 11 p.m. This was completed by 5 a.m. on the 27th. But as it was still necessary to get material forward, the Battalion was redeployed as carrying parties to get ammunition and water to the frontline. The Battalion remained in support at the old frontline near Black Watch Corner, until they were relieved in the evening of the 27th.
Private John Bernard Connell was killed in action on the 27th of September 1917. He was initially buried near Jerk House, just West of Cameron House, in the divisional area of the 33rd British Division, which operated on the Australian’s right flank. Cameron House was a well defended German strongpoint, which had checked the advance several times on the previous day. Cameron House only fell at 5.40 a.m. on the 27th of September, when it was captured by the 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers of the 33rd Division. A gap had emerged between the 15th Australian Brigade and the men of the 33rd Division. Fierce and confused fighting continued until 3.50 p.m. on the 27th when connection was reestablished between the Australian and the British troops. John Bernard Connell probably fell close to Jerk House, while bringing supplies to the frontline. His remains were exhumed after the war and he was interred in Buttes New British Cemetery in Polygon Wood.

Files 1

Sources 7

"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 85-88.
Sources used
AIF-project
https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/search
Sources used
Australian War Memorial
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P10331147
Sources used
CWGC
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/480166/CONNELL,%20J%20B
Sources used
National Archives of Australia
http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/SearchScreens/BasicSearch.aspx
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/
Sources used
War diary 57th Bn. Australian Infantry
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1338583
Sources used