Private Irwin Bunyan
19th Battalion, AIF
Serial Number: 4673
Born: 1889, Emu Plains, NSW
Died: 11 May 1917, Bullecourt, France
Irwin Bunyan was born at Emu Plains, the ninth child and sixth son of William and Sarah Ann (nee Poll) Bunyan and was known as ‘Mick’. After attending Emu Plains Public School he was employed by Bartlett at Emu Plains. He was an enthusiastic cricketer and footballer and a good rifle shot and was a member of the Light Horse unit at Penrith. On the eve of leaving for the Western Front, Bunyan was presented with a money belt and other mementos by the people of Emu Plains.
Bunyan enlisted on 27 January 1916 at Casula. His brother Edward and two cousins enlisted at the same time. Edward (Edwin) was killed on the Western Front in October 1917 and a cousin, Leslie Victor Poll, who served with the 36th Battalion, was killed on 3 October 1917.
Bunyan was posted to the 12th Reinforcements, 19th Battalion and left Australia aboard HMAT Ceramic on 4 April 1916, arriving in Alexandria on 29 May 1916. He then travelled to England aboard RMS Megantic, arriving in Portsmouth on 7 June 1916. After several months training Bunyan joined his unit in France. In December 1916, Bunyan was hospitalised for scabies and returned to his unit on 9 January 1917. In February he was sent to Lewis Gun School. On 3 March 1917, Bunyan was wounded in the mouth. He was hospitalised and rejoined his unit on 19 March 1917. At the time of his injury, the 19th Battalion was involved in action against the Hindenburg Line at Bullecourt.
On 3 May 1917, Bunyan suffered severe wounds to the chest during a charge at Bullecourt. He lay in a shell-hole for three days and sustained further shrapnel wounds. Stretcher-bearers were unable to rescue him owing to German fire. Finally, he was transported to the 3rd Canadian Stationary Hospital at Boulogne on 10 May. His brother Edward was with him at the dressing station. Although Bunyan underwent surgery on admission, he died from his wounds on the following day.
- Bologne Eastern Cemetery, France
- War Memorial, Emu Plains
- Honor Roll, Emu Plains Public School
- Memorial plaque, St Paul’s Anglican Church, Emu Plains
- National Archives of Australia: B2455, BUNYAN I
- Australian War Memorial First World War Nominal Roll
- Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
- Penrith City Library Biography