Terry McMahon marks heroic war act of relative Private Cornelius McMahon

Terry McMahon marks heroic war act of relative Private Cornelius McMahon

Olivia Shying, Geelong Advertiser

September 13, 2018 12:00am


GEELONG war veteran Terry McMahon is filled with pride when he thinks of the brave act his father’s cousin performed 100 years ago today.

On September 13, 1918, aged in his early 20s, Private Cornelius McMahon was working as a medic in the battlefields of France when Germans began to attack the makeshift hospital.

The young soldier, who had gone to war to aid medical assistance, carried wounded soldiers nearly 2km to safety while being attacked by the enemy.

Mr McMahon, who remembers meeting his hero cousin once removed in the 1940s, says his relative received a Military Medal for bravery and gallantry.

“He carried the wounded to protect them from the enemy,” Mr McMahon said.

“All medical officers were ordered to evacuate but he (Pte McMahon) kept carrying the wounded.”

Terry McMahon’s great uncle Cornelius McMahon.

Mr McMahon fears his relative’s legacy and service to the country may soon be forgotten. “There are only two members of my family alive. How sad to think that this man’s efforts would be totally unknown,” he said.

He said Pte McMahon showed immense bravery — for not only evacuating the wounded but because he disobeyed orders to do what he felt was right.

“Firstly, I was surprised to learn that a medic received a Military Medal … and secondly I think it’s a lesson to the younger kids that if you feel that you’re doing the right thing, even if you are abandoning orders, then it’s right to do it. He got them all out.”

Pte McMahon survived the war and had two daughters. The Western Victorian man died in the 1940s.

Mr McMahon said his relative would have been one of the last soldiers to receive a Military Medal during World War I.

“I feel very proud of him,” Mr McMahon said.

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