My name is Peter Rickard and I am a project historian working with the Friends of the Kingston Avenue of Honour. The Avenue is located in central Victoria and is one of the best maintained Avenues of its type in Australia. It contains 287 trees planted in memory of individuals who served this country during WW1. So far we have managed to find the war histories for 285 individuals and am awaiting information from the Australian National Archives in order to finalise another outstanding individual’s history. That will leave us with one individual Lawrence Richard (or Richmond) Sheehan.
Trying to find anything on this individual has been elusive. He was born at Smeaton (central Victoria) in 1888 and is believed to have died in 1949. The Creswick Advertiser (27 October 1916) reported that he had been accepted for service as a wireless operator. At this time he was working with the Ballarat West Telegraph Operator no doubt as a telegraphist. He went on to serve on “HMAT Karoola” as a wireless operator. My problem is that I have been unable to locate any reference to this individual either with the Australian National Archives or the Australian War Memorial (AWM). In desperation, I have even tried variations on the spelling of his surname without luck.
If someone has some clues, suggestions or even answers, I would be most grateful.
As far as I can ascertain, merchant ships which were requisitioned for service as troop transports retained some or all of their civilian (i.e Merchant Navy) crew. It is possible that Sheehan may have been a member of the Merchant Navy, rather than the RAN, which would explain why you cannot locate a record of him on our website. We do hold records of Merchant Navy service. If you could please complete our inquiry form (http://reftracker.naa.gov.au/reft100.aspx?pmi=e9U2AEzZ1m) we can search for any relevant records for you.