John Francis Cunningham (1885 – 1950)

John Francis (Jack) Cunningham was born in March 1885, the second son and second child of Mathew Cunningham and Mary Anne Barry. John enlisted at Goulburn on 19 July 1915 with the rank of Private. He was aged 29 years and 2 months. On his enlistment papers, he stated that he had served in the Light Horse for 3 years.

Jack was posted to to 4th Reinforcement 18 Battalion at Liverpool Camp and embarked with them on the transport HMAT A8 Argyllshire at Sydney 30 September 1915 disembarking at Suez around 1 December 1915, going to Tel el Kebir Camp; after the battalion returned from service on Gallipoli Jack joined the battalion at Tel el Kebir 10 January 1916.

Jack boarded the transport Ascania at Alexandria 18 March 1916 and disembarked at Marseille France on 25 March 1916, he then arrived at Thiennes 29 March 1916. He was involved in the Battle of Pozieres August 1916. On 15 November 1916, he was promoted to Corporal.

Jack was wounded in action in the Martinpuich area 26 February 1917, and treated for gunshot wounds to his right thigh and right arm. He was transferred to 1/1 South Manchester CCS, then to 8 Stationary Hospital Wimereux on 28 February 1917. On 10 March 1917, Jack was evacuated to 3 London General Hospital Wandsworth England, then he was transferred to Grove Military Hospital Tooting on 2 May 1917. It would have been during this period that he visited with his brother, Albious, who was also in hospital in England. He was transferred to 1 Auxiliary Hospital Harefield 23 August 1917, before being discharged to furlough 31 August 1917.

On 14 September 1917, Jack returned to duty at 3 Command Depot Hurdcott, on 4 October 1917 he transferred to 2 Command Depot Weymouth. On 31 October 1917 Jack embarked on the transport Berrima for return to Australia, he disembarked at Melbourne 30 December 1917. Jack was discharged medically unfit because of his wounds 30 January 1918. For his service John was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

On 31 January 1918, Jack was granted a war pension of 68/- per fortnight. His address at this time was “St Albans” Hill Street Forbes.

In 1942 Jack made a statutory declaration regarding the loss of his medals as the result of a fire. He gave his address as “Woodlands” Tarlo, whilst the declaration was made at Boolooroo Station Moree.

Jack Cunningham died at Ryde Soldiers Memorial Hospital NSW 8 April 1950, and was buried at Orange.

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