Walter Doody

Honour roll location: Pillar 5B

The Doody family made a great contribution to World War One, sending three sons; Walter, John (Jack) and Herbert.

Walter Doody was born on 13 Dec 1897 to Edwin and Isabel Doody (nee Shaw) at Serpentine, Victoria. Private Walter Doody enlisted on the 6th of July 1915 aged 18 years at Janiember East. He listed his occupation as a labourer on the enlistment form. His next of kin was his bother Ernest Doody from Tandarra. The enlistment records also state that he had brown hair and yellowish eyes.

Walter Doody

Walter was part of the 3rd reinforcements of the 31st Battalion of the AIF. On the 18th of February 1916, he embarked from Melbourne aboard the HMAT Ballarat.

Soldiers aboard the HMAT Ballarat on the 18th February 1916. Walter is not believed to be in this particular photo but was aboard this ship headed for the Western Front. Photo from the Australian War Memorial.

On the 15th of November 1916, Walter was gassed and hit by a bit of shell in Flers. He was taken to the field hospital but died there the same day. For some time, Walter was officially reported wounded and missing in action. He had been last seen at the Anzac Clearing Station at Bernafay Wood, Somme.

During this time, his brother Ernest and sister Bertha had sought further information regarding the whereabouts and fate of Walter. Letters were sent to his family to see if they had received any correspondence from Walter after the date he was reported missing. On the 26th of October 1917, Walter’s kit bag was returned to his brother Ernest via the HMAT Euripides. It included a metal ring, identification tags, key ring, wallet, notebook and his battalion colours. Unfortunately, no further news arrived to accompany the parcel.

As Walter was initially reporting missing in action, it took some time to discover what really occurred to him. After awaiting information from a repatriated prisoner of war who supposedly had definite information regarding Walter’s last days, there was a Court of Inquiry held in Acoy, Belgium. The official report that he died of wounds received in action was delivered on the 7th of April, 1919. This was three years after Walter was reported missing.

Walter’s brothers, Herbert and John went to WWI as did his cousins Leonard and Henry. All four of these men returned home to Australia. Sadly, Walter did not. Walter has no known grave but is recognised at the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in France.


Leonard Doody

Honour roll location: Pillar 5B

On the 25th of April, 1918 Leonard Doody’s heroic act in Villers Bretonneux earned him a distinguished conduct medal.

Leonard Doody, taken in London 1916.

Leonard and his twin brother John were born on the 21st of December 1886 at Serpentine to Joseph and Louisa Doody. Unfortunately, his twin died 5 days later. Leonard grew up in Kerang to become a Horse Breaker and Clipper. He was married to Winifred Uren in 1910. He then enlisted in Calivil on the 13th of June, 1916 and embarked aboard the HMAT Shropshire from Melbourne. Leonard Doody (service number 2529) was a Private in the 59th Infantry Battalion. He was wounded on a few occasions including the 26th of September 1917, 17th of November 1917, and 25th of April 1918 in Villers Bretonneux. The main cause of his injuries were shell explosions and mustard gas. During the attack on Villers Bretonneux Leonard Doody bravely captured a gunner point and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Below is the report of what Leonard did to receive this well-earned medal.

Image sourced from Discovering Anzacs

He was discharged on 30 October 1919 due to his injuries. He never fully recovered, despite being hopeful when he first arrived home to Kerang.

Leonard and Winifred, his wife, had 5 children. Two of those children served in World War II: Joseph Andrew Doody and Leonard Burwood Doody.

Leonard Burwood enlisted on the 10th of March 1941 at Kerang. His unit was the 38th Battalion. He was discharged 27th of November 1941 and died 1945 aged 25. Joseph enlisted in Caulfield on the 25th May 1940. He served as a gunner in the 6th Reinforcements. He was discharged 29th of January 1946 and died 1959 aged 44.

Leonard’s leather identification tags
Finger ring made from copper machine gun driving band fragment. A section of the ring has been flattened out and a scalloped edge shaped on either side.

Leonard died on the 31st of January 1945 and is buried in Kerang. His gravestone fittingly says ‘Duty nobly done.’