Lt Maguire John Timothy

  • Year of birth: 1896
  • Place of birth: Bowenvale, Victoria, Australia
  • Date of death: 04/10/1917
  • Place of death: Albania, Belgium
  • Cause of death: Killed in action (K.I.A.)
  • Age: 21
  • Profession: Postal Official
  • Country: Australia
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Service number: /
  • Enlistment date: 09/08/1915
  • Enlistment place: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Last known unit: Australian Infantry, 8th Bn.
  • Force: Australian Imperial Force

Memorial

Additional information

John Timothy Maguire was born in 1896 in Bowenvale, Victoria. He was one of six children of Johanna and John Maguire. As the first-born son, young John Timothy was given the nickname “Boy”. He worked as a postal official in the nearby city of Maryborough before he enlisted in 1915.

Once in the army John quickly rose through the ranks. He was promoted to Sergeant in March 1916 and was eventually promoted to lieutenant on June 8th 1917.

On October 2nd, the 8th Battalion moved from their bivouacs and shelters at Château Segard to the Anzac Ridge, between Westhoek and Zonnebeke, where they relieved two companies of the 9th Battalion. On the 4th of October 1917 the 1st Division advanced from Zonnebeke. The Division was to attack at 6 a.m. with the 1st Australian Brigade, on the right, and the 2nd Brigade, on the left. Half an hour before the attack the Australian positions were heavily shelled, as the Germans were planning an attack on the same day.

At 6 a.m. the men advanced, when the Allied barrage came crashing down. The German Infantry in front of them left their positions almost at the same time. However while the Australians broke free from the German barrage on their frontline, the Allied barrage caught the German Infantrymen in no man’s land. The results were devastating. Many Germans were killed by the barrage. Those who survived were disorientated and didn’t put up much of a fight. The advance continued. Both Romulus and Remus Wood proved difficult to advance through. The terrain was marshy and the woods were heavily wired. The attack was diverted round the flanks. When the men of the 5th Prussian Guards (Grenadiers) had recovered from the initial surprise, they took up positions in various pill-boxes and fortified shell holes. But whenever the 8th Battalion encountered opposition from such strongholds, these were outflanked and then charged.

The 8th Battalion reached the first objective a.k.a. the Red Line, just east of Romulus and Remus Wood at 6.30 a.m. While consolidating the line the 8th Battalion came under fire from 77 mm guns on the Broodseinde - Beselare Road, just east of the Red Line. These were eventually captured by a platoon of the Battalion. After the Red Line had been consolidated by 7.30 a.m. the attack was taken over by the 6th and 7th Battalions. They eventually captured the second objective aka the Blue Line at Celtic Wood.

Lieutenant Maguire would not live to see the start the attack. The battalion moved to their assembly positions at 1 a.m. Lieutenant Maguire being in “A” Company was supposed to assemble on the left side of the divisional frontline. During the move forward, however, Lieutenant Maguire was killed by German shell fire. Death was instantly. John, still only 21, was buried between Albania and Tokio. His grave was eventually lost and John is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial.

His fellow soldiers and officers all spoke very highly of Lieutenant Maguire. He was awarded the Military Cross in recognition of exemplary gallantry during the attack on Polygon Wood on September 20th 1917. During the attack, he led his platoon to capture two strong points and was able to consolidate the final objective of the attack, whilst also rendering assistance to another battalion. John left behind his fiancée, Bee Dillon.