Cornelius Joseph Gooley

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Yarroweyah, Victoria, Australia

General information


Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Private Signaller
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
 —  Australian Infantry, 39th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Seine, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Private Cornelius Joseph Gooley served in the Australian Infantry, 39th Battalion, part of the 10th Australian Brigade, of the 3rd Australian Division.

The Battalion participated in the Battle of Broodseinde on the 4th of October 1917. This battle was a stage of the Third Battle of Ypres and resulted in the capture of the Broodseinde ridge. Australia’s 3rd Division went into battle with two brigades; the 10th and 11th Australian Brigades. The attack of the 10th Australian Brigade towards Tyne Cot, along the Northern bank of the Ypres-Roulers railway, was carried by the 37th, 38th, 39th and 40th Battalions.

The men had occupied positions in shell holes along the Zonnebeke-Langemark road, where they awaited Zero hour. At 5.30 a.m. the German artillery put down a massive barrage on the assembly lines. The Germans weren’t expecting an attack but were planning an attack of themselves and the shelling was part of a preliminary barrage. By chance the Germans had chosen the same day as the allies to advance, but they were unaware of the Australian troops right in front of them. The barrage came crashing down on the 11th Brigade, on the right flank of the 3rd Division. The 2nd Australian Division on their right were even worse off and took the full brunt of the bombardment. However casualties in the 39th Battalion were few and the men ducked for cover while waiting in their shell-holes, on the order to advance.

At 6 a.m. the allied barrage came crashing down 200 yards in front of the assembled troops. The unforgiving barrage creeped forward at a pace of 100 yards each three minutes. The men of the 10th Brigade started to advance behind this curtain of shell fire. The allied barrage completely surprised the assembled Germans.

The Germans had planned their attack at 6.15 a.m. and were completely caught off balance. On the other hand the advancing Anzacs lost few casualties, as much of the German shells fell behind them. The first serious opposition was encountered at Judah Galleries. But the assembled German troops were completely overwhelmed by the heavy barrage. Many of them were found shell-shocked and utterly disorientated. The ones who had survived the shelling were killed or were taken prisoners by the Australians. Over 40 German prisoners were made near Judah Galleries. Most Germans in the pill-boxes, were taken by surprise and were rushed by the Australians. Many Germans chose to surrender.

After the 37th and 38th Battalions had consolidated their objectives the 39th continued the attack. They were briefly held up in near Seine, by machine-gun fire coming from Abraham Heights and Beecham Farm, in the New Zealand Division’s area. But most resistance was soon silenced by the creeping barrage combined with the continued advance of the New Zealanders and the 40th Battalion on the left.

By 8.30 a.m. all objectives had been captured. The Battalion consolidated the captured positions and started reorganizing. During consolidation casualties were sustained due to persistent machine-gun- and sniper fire from Dab Trench and Berlin Wood. This proved that the area of the New Zealanders and the 40th Battalion on the left hadn’t been completely secured. Over 100 men of the 39th were subsequently sent up to capture and consolidate their objective.

Although the attack had been a success and the Broodseinde Ridge was now in allied hands, casualties were high. Private Cornelius Joseph Gooley was killed in action on the slopes of the Broodseinde Ridge. Possibly in the Seine area. His remains were never identified and Cornelius Joseph Gooley is remembered on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Files 2

Sources 7

"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 99.
Sources used
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Australian War Memorial
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National Archives of Australia
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The Long, Long Trail
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War Diary Australian Infantry 39th Bn.
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