from Redhill to Gympie

A tribute to Michael Christian Daly & Eileen Gertrude Green,to their descendants and to their ancestors and to the many cousins

John Evangelist Dee, a soldier who never made it home.....
| National Archives Record | Commonwealth War Graves Commission | UNSW AIF Project |
| RSL Virtual Memorial |Burial Cemetery | Freeling Hotel | Letter to Father |

John Evangelist Dee
Source: RSL Virtual War Memorial

I recall my mother Eileen Gertrude Daly nee Green, (1914 – 1991) telling me years ago about a cousin of her’s being killed in France in World War 1. He was John Evangelist Dee whose mother, Catherine Anastasia Green, was my mother’s aunt. As John Evangelist Dee and Mum shared the same grandparents they were first cousins. He was the eldest child of Catherine Anastasia Green (01 November 1872 - 17 April 1951) and her second husband Michael Dee (13 October 1866 - 27 March 1929). They married at Redhill on 24 April 1895. Catherine’s first husband was Edward Lawrence Cummins (1858-1892). The Dees owned the Freeling Hotel which is about 60 kilometres north of Adelaide. Previously they had the Royal Mail Hotel in Stone Hut. There is a report in the Chronicle Newspaper on 21 December 1912 about their license renewal for the Royal Mail Hotel in Stone Hut. Source: Trove.

After seeing an ANZAC program on ABC television reminded me of this so I decided to do a search.

ohn was born on 29 March 1896 at Stone Hut, South Australia. He enlisted in the AIF on 22 January 1916 and gave his occupation as a barman. Michael Dee, his father, was granted the licence to the Mundoora hotel in 1914. His parents also owned the Freeling Hotel, perhaps later, and he could well have worked there, serving customers, changing the barrels, opening and closing the bar. Following his training he embarked with the 43 Infantry Battalion at Adelaide on 9 June 1916 on HMAT "Afric" bound for France via South Hampton. In January 1917 he was hospitalised for a month for an unspecified illness (it may have been dysentery as many soldiers suffered from it) and then rejoined his company, which was still in France. He was in London in January 1918 for training and at the end of the month he went back to France. He was wounded in battle with a gunshot wound to the head on 4 July 1918 which is dispassionately decribed in his servicer record as a "GSW". He was admitted to the 4th Australian Field Ambulance and thereafter transferred to the 5th Casualty Clearing Station. On the 20 of July he was transferred to the 11th Stationary Hospital. The conditions in the field would have been devastating - a gun shot head wound and it took over a week to get him to hospital. John did not recover and died on 16 July 191 8 at Rouen, Seine-Maritime, Haute-Normandie, France. He was buried at St Sever Cemetery. These details are according to his war record held online by the National Archives of Australia. On 6 August 1918 the Daily Herald newspaper reported his death. Thank you to a fellow SA genealogist researching war deaths for this information.

The record shows that he died in action after being wounded in the final phase of great German Spring push at the Second Battle of the Marne. This was to be the last major German offensive on the Western Front. The archive records provide interesting reading and an insight to the war and its effect on families.

Following the war the family had to deal with the armed services bureaucracy receiving John’s personal possessions, getting probate on his will and dealing with his life insurance company.

John's three brothers also served in the armed forces:

Thomas Dee (1906-1941) died in action when HMAS Sydney was sunk.
Patrick Dee (1911-1960) served in the RAAF
Michael Dee (1909-1960) served in the AIF


As mentioned above, his family had the Freeling Hotel which is still there. By 1922 his mum (and probably his dad too) had moved to Torrensville which is a suburb of Adelaide. There is a war memorial cenotaph outside the hotel according to Google Maps street view. His name is inscribed on the memorial, third from the top.


  Freeling, South Australia The hotel as it is today
and the cenotaph.
(source Google Maps ©)

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record

Rank: Corporal
Service No: 462
Date of Death: 16/07/1918
Age: 22
Regiment/Service: Australian Infantry, A.I.F. 43rd Bn.
Grave Reference: Q. II. B. 12.
Cemetery: St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France
Additional Information: Son of Michael and Catherine Anastasia Dee, of Torrensville, South Australia.

Useful Links

National Archives Digital Record:
Daly Family Tree:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
Burial Cemetery:,%20ROUEN
Freeling Hotel:,138.8065999,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x6ab9f0d7803f5271:0x66280b3ff2298f5d
Cemetery Certificate: PDF file
UNSW AIF Project:
RSL Virtual Memorial:

Researched by: MWJ Daly