Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 -1919
5091 Private Joseph Augustus Duffy - Mallacoota / Lakes Entrance Killed in Action 26 September 1917
Fresh faced and blue eyed, Joseph Duffy was born at Mallacoota in 1897 to Joseph and Sarah nee Dorron. He was their first child and was followed by a sister Ivy, born at Paynesville the following year, and then Frank, Charles, Sydney, Stanley and Frederick who were all born at Cunninghame. The children all went to school at Cunninghame and when he finished his education he started labouring in the area. Joe, as he was known, had just turned eighteen when there was a recruiting meeting held in town and he, with fifteen other men from Lakes Entrance, signed up on 16 February 1916. He embarked with the 59 th  Battalion from Melbourne aboard the Suffolk on 1 April 1916 and they arrived in the Suez on 11 June. Joe was attached to the 15 th   Training Battalion at Tel-El-Kebir on 24 June as reinforcement to the 57 th   Battalion. They left Alexandria on the Ivernia and landed in Marseilles at the end of June. Six months later Joe, who had now been given the nickname of “Duff”, was at the 4 th  Army Infantry Training School at Flixecourt on the Somme where schools were held in the chateaux. Men were regularly withdrawn from their units to attend schools in both France and England where specialist courses on tactics and weaponry, including the use of poisonous gas, were run. It was while he was at school that he was caught drinking in an establishment during prohibited hours on 28 January 1917 for which he was admonished by his own Commanding Officer on the 15 February as he had re-joined his unit on the 11 February.   He was admitted to hospital on the 21 March with an irregular heart beat and after a week of rest, re-joined the 59 th  Battalion on 28 March 1917. The 59 th  Battalion was heavily involved in the Battle of Polygon Wood and by now he was a runner for “B” Company. On the morning of the 25 September, the objective of the 59 th  was to gain control of the line at Polygon Wood. This attack started at 5.50am and it was shortly after this that Sergeant Major Chamberlain was talking to “Duff” on the edge of the wood. Chamberlain later reported that he was giving him a message to take and he was sniped through the temple by a rifle bullet which killed him instantly. He was talking to me at the time and fell at my feet. He went on to report that he did not know where he was buried. As this was an area of fierce battle it is no surprise that his body was lost and not buried. Others at the time reported that when they were wounded and withdrawn from the scene some 24 hours later his body still lay where he had fallen. When word of his death reached Lakes Entrance much sympathy was expressed for his parents who were “old residents” of the Entrance. His death was the twelfth who had made the sacrifice out of the 80 who had enlisted from the town. Despite losing their son and brother, the Duffy family continued to work tirelessly raising funds for the war effort. In October 1918, his family received a parcel of a single coin, wallet and photos having already received his torch and bible and in 1922 Joseph Duffy signed for his son’s medals. Joseph Duffy jnr is remembered on several Honour rolls in the Lakes Entrance district. He has no known grave and he is remembered at Menin Gate on the Ypres memorial.
….. sniped through the temple by a rifle bullet