The Diary of Bart Creedon, Prisoner of War
When Private Creedon, 9th Infantry Battalion, took shelter in a dugout on June 1915, he had suffered a blow to the head and been wounded in both hands. He dozed while he waited for dusk, when he woke, to his horror he was looking down three Turkish rifles.
Maryborough volunteers, for the European War Top left F.W. Neal, centre D.B. Creedon
Creedon was taken prisoner during an advance on the Turkish positions at Sniper’s Ridge and the Knife Edge, where his group became separated from the rest of the battalion.
Tragically Bart Creedon did not survive the conditions of the camps in which he was interned, he died at Angora, Turkey in February 1917.
Fellow prisoner Private Jonas Palfrey Havard, a New Zealander, kept Creedon’s belongings and on his own release handed them, including his brief diary, to another POW, Sergeant John Halpin, 12th Light Horse Regiment, who promised to return them to Bart’s mother Kate Cowhey in Maryborough.
Curiously the brief diary was serialised and published in the Illawarra Mercury in 1920. Private Bart Creedon’s story can be read through the transcribed copy of his diary held in Brisbane, now available online.
Much more of Creedon’s story can be revealed however via the correspondence available on his Red Cross Wounded and Missing files, available at the Australian War Memorial.
Lance Corporal Frederick Neal
Fred Neal wrote to London in 1917, hoping to recover some of his friends personal effects. Lance Corporal Neal had enlisted on the same day, with his mate Bart, and was also assigned to the 9th Infantry Battalion.
In 1919 the Red Cross contacted Private Jonas Havard, asking if he could supply them with information about Creedon’s care, illness and death.
In his response Havard, who spent quite some time in the company of Creedon, related how his belongings had come to be in the hands of Sergeant Halpin, the circumstances of his death, and place of burial. It would have meant so much to his family.
Havard had been captured in Gallipoli in August 1915, with wounds to his hands, he had also lost sight in one eye. Havard was repatriated to Egypt in 1918 as part of a prisoner exchange program, he was evacuated to England, where he remained until being returned to New Zealand in September 1919.
While we can observe ANZAC day here in Australia, and at many sites across the globe, we are unable to visit the memorial for Daniel Bartholemew Creedon, originally interred in the Armenian Cemetery in Angora. These graves were undistinguishable after the end of the war and a Special Kipling Memorial was erected in the Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq.
Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial
Today the Baghdad War Cemetery is located in a very sensitive area, of a country still at war, and where our countrymen today continue to serve. For the Creedon family however, and those who wish to commemorate other prisoners of war, there is now a significant memorial in Ballarat, Victoria, where his name is carved in the granite panels.
Bart Creedon’s name will be projected on the Australian War Memorial’s Hall of Memory this month, on the 9th May 2016 and throughout the World War 1 commemorative period.
- OM90-138 D.B. Creedon Diary 1915
- NAA: CREEDON, Daniel Bartholemew
- AWM: Red Cross Missing and Wounded
- NZEF: HAVARD, Jonas Palfrey
- NAA: HALPIN, John
- NAA: NEAL, Frederick William
- In the hands of the Turks, Illawarra Mercury, [16 July 1920] [23 July 1920] [30 July 1920] [6 August 1920] [13 August 1920] [20 August 1920]
Other servicemen mentioned in the diary:
- ALLEN, William, #552 9th Battalion. Died whilst POW, 20 December 1916
- JORDAN, Stanley Rupert #719 9th Battalion. POW, repatriated 1918
- KING, George Burdett, #1379 9th Battalion. Died whilst POW, 16 August 1918
- MATTHEWS, Charles, #637 9th Battalion. POW, repatriated 1918
- O’CALLAGHAN, John #1600 9th Battalion. Died whilst POW, 21 January 1917
- SULLIVAN, William James #1039 9th Battalion. Killed in action, 28 June 1915
QANZAC 100 Content Technician
State Library of Queensland