Remembrance Day: The Dwyer brothers
John and Mary Dwyer of Sutherland farewelled three of their eleven
children off to war in 1915 with a fourth son following a year after. All four
brothers were bridge carpenters and had worked on the construction of
the Gunnamatta Baths.
Philip, Adrian and Alfred enlisted within a day of each other and were
appointed as drivers. They embarked on HMAT Suffolk in December 1915
and upon landing in Egypt, put their carpentry skills to good use in the
construction of a pontoon bridge over the canal.
Alfred was 25 when he enlisted and just before crossing to France was
promoted to 2nd Corporal in November 1916. During the Battle of Ypres
on the night of 1 November 1917 he oversaw a convoy of engineers who,
under intense fire, showed incredible courage, skill and determination,
successfully leading his team to safety. He was promoted to Corporal
and was awarded a Military Medal in August 1918.
Adrian, known as ‘Cass’, was 21 when he enlisted and took part in dangerous driving missions on the Somme in 1916. On 4 August he took part in an attack on enemy trenches at Tara Hill. Cass was shot in the left arm but remained on duty. He was shortly after promoted to Lance Corporal and served alongside his brothers on the Ypres Front.
Philip was the youngest of the brothers to enlist at 18 years. On Christmas Day 1916, in freezing conditions on the Western Front, he was admitted to hospital suffering from influenza. He re-joined the unit over a year later where he served for a further two years before returning home.
John was the last to enlist however was the eldest of the four brothers, joining his brothers in France in May 1917. He sustained a gunshot wound to his hand but was discharged to duty eight days later and spent the rest of 1917 in Belgium. On 4 July 1918 he was wounded a second time during the Battle of Hamel, suffering a fractured upper arm due to a gunshot wound. He returned home the following
year to his wife and two children.
The Dwyer brothers successfully tendered for work with the Sutherland Shire Council, working on projects such as the construction of the sea wall at Bonnie Vale in 1921. All found their resting place together in Woronora Cemetery.
The Dwyer brothers