Private Robert McGuinness
53rd Battalion, AIF
Service Number: 2213A
Born: 1883, Workington, England
Died: 26 May 1917, Bullecourt, France
Robert William McGuinness was born in about 1883 in Workington, Cumberland, England. Before he had migrated to Australia in about 1911, McGuinness had served two years with the 3rd Borders Regiment and another two years with the 4th Lancashire Artillery. When he enlisted McGuinness had been a railway employee, working as a senior porter stationed at Emu Plains Railway Station. He listed his elder sister Elizabeth Ellen Wilson, who was living in Lithgow, as his next of kin. His parents had died before he enlisted.
McGuinness enlisted on 28 February 1916 at Bathurst. On 11 July, he embarked on the HMAT Vestalia for Devonport England arriving on 9 September. On 5 December, he proceeded overseas to France and joined his battalion on 21 December.
McGuinness was wounded in action on 22 May and admitted to the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station where he died on 26 May. On 24 July Catherine Fallon of Brownlow Hill near Camden enquired about McGuinness and how he died and where. She was informed he had died of his wounds.
His pension and war medals were to be sent to his sister in Lithgow. However, she had moved address by 1922 and could not be located. A dispute ensued between McGuinness’ stepmother and his sisters, one in England and the other in NSW. McGuinness’ mementos (plaque and scroll) had been erroneously sent to the stepmother as his next-of-kin. However, his sister in NSW was his closest next of kin and she requested the return of the mementos, but the stepmother refused to give them up.
- Grevillers British Cemetery, France
- War Memorial, Emu Plains
- Honor Roll, Emu Plains Public School
National Archives Australia: MCGUINNESS R W