William Callaghan was a 39 year old single labourer when he enlisted in February 1915. His previous naval service possibly helped given his age, having spent 12 years in the Royal Navy and nine months in the Royal Marines. At the time of his enlistment he was living and working in Townsville, Queensland. There he was allotted to the 15th Battalion which was drawn up mostly of Queenslanders but with at least two companies from Tasmania.
The battalion arrived in France in June 1916 and its first major action of the campaign was at Pozieres. Private Callaghan was wounded in action sustaining a gun-shot wound to his back. He was evacuated to Edinburgh War Hospital. After been seen by the medical board it was recommended that he be discharged and sent back to Australia. His war wounds were of sufficient severity to have impacted greatly on his life.
From his war record come a couple of glimpses into his post war life – in 1920 he was working and living on a ketch the Beatrice. But by 1923 he was a resident of the New Town Infirmary which suggests that he was no longer able to look after himself. William died on 28 August 1924 aged 49 years.
When looking for William’s birth and parents it soon became apparent that he was the son of a convict who arrived here in 1845 having been transported for stealing from his master.