Albert Edward KEARNEY (1895-1948)
Private A. E. KEARNEY No. 1408 – 29th Battalion AIF
Albert Edward KEARNEY (21yo) left for the First World War “fresh” faced, strong and healthy. He returned damaged and scarred for life. He was wounded at Fromelles less than one year after he enlisted. Albert’s right hand was blown off and his right thigh severely wounded in a grenade accident while in action. At the same time his father Private Edward KEARNEY No. 1678, was having trouble in the 51st Battalion with his marching orders.
This is the story of his homecoming as recorded in the ‘Healesville and Yarra Glen Guardian’, Saturday 10 March 1917, page 2
Pte. Albert Kearney
RETURN FROM THE WAR
On Thursday evening last, Private Albert Kearney, who had the misfortune to lose his arm at the war, returned to Healesville and was warmly welcomed by the citizens, quite a crowd gathering at the railway station. That there would have been many more present if his return had been more widely known is without doubt, but Pte. Kearney can take the enthusiastic welcome (…?…) of those present as an indication of the district’s feeling towards him.
On behalf of the citizens, Dr Parker in a few words welcomed Pte. Kearney and said that one and all were very pleased to see him back again. Pte. Kearney returned with the knowledge of duty done. Those present felt both gladness and some on this occasion glad when they were able to welcome one back, and sad when they thought of those who were going to take their places. All looked with hope for the time when all would be coming back.
The speaker then called for three cheers for the returned soldier, which were heartily given.
Pte. Kearney was then escorted to a dray which Mr J. Cornish kindly placed at the disposal of the citizens and was driven to his home where mother, sister and brother (s?) were waiting to receive him.
A very pleasant welcome was accorded to Pte. Kearney at his mother’s residence later in the evening. Pte. Kearney is well known and was always a favourite with all who knew him, and although he has been through some of the thickest fights and was badly wounded, having lost his right arm, he is still every inch a Britisher and a soldier whom every Australian may well be proud to honour. There is none of the “slacker” about him. He makes light of his wounds as compared with the fate of many of his comrades. It was inspiring to hear him discussing war experiences with his cousin, Jim Chandler of Long Gully, who has also been to the front and has done his bit. They are both glad that no white feathers are stuck in their hats.
Before dispersing Cr Paulsen, on behalf of the many friends and neighbours, expressed admiration of the great service that Pte. Albert Kearney had done on behalf of his King and Country. No man could show his loyalty plainer than to offer his life for the Empire, and our boys by their enlistment showed the world and especially our enemies, that they will fight to preserve our Empire against the military tyrant Germany.
Pte. Kearney modestly thanked all present for their kind and homely welcome, and after the singing of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” and cheers for the soldier boys, the friends dispersed, leaving Mrs Kearney happy and proud with her returned boy.