24. Martin O'Meara (1885-1935), war hero
Martin O’Meara was born in County Tipperary, Ireland and migrated to Australia as a young man. He was employed as a sleeper cutter, but when World War I broke out he was quick to enlist at the Blackboy Hill Camp (Western Australia) and was posted to the 16th Battalion. He served from Gallipoli in 1915 until the last fight at Le Verguier in 1918. He was wounded on three occasions, and was awarded a Victoria Cross at Pozieres in August 1916. O’Meara was discharged in Perth in November 1919.
O’Meara’s citation for the Victoria Cross reads as follows:
Pozieres, 9-12th August 1916 Citation. Private Martin
O’Meara, 16th Australian Infantry Battalion
For most conspicuous bravery. During four days of very heavy fighting he repeatedly went out and brought in wounded officers and men from No Man’s Land under intense artillery and machine-gun fire. He also volunteered and carried up ammunition and bombs through a heavy barrage to a portion of the trenches which was being heavily shelled at the time. He showed throughout an utter contempt for danger and undoubtedly saved many lives.
- London Gazette: 9 September 1916
After discharge his health was poor and he spent the rest of his life in a military hospital in Claremont. He died on 20 December 1935 and was buried with full military honours. He was unmarried and had no relatives in Australia. His will instructed that any monies raised for him should be directed to the restoration of the ancient abbey at Lorrha in Ireland. His VC is in the custody of the 16th Battalion in Perth.