Motor mechanic Francis Lahey was a cog in the machinery of war as a driver in the Army’s transport column, delivering vital supplies to the troops on the Western Front.
Nineteen-and-a-half years old, Francis had the signed permission of his parents, John and Margaret, when he enlisted on August 24, 1916.
He had been named after his grandfather, Francis Lahey, who emigrated to Australia from Ireland with his wife and 11 children in 1862 and established the Lahey sawmilling empire at Canungra.
Born in Townsville, Francis was a cousin of Jack, Romeo, Noel, Godfrey and Talbot Lahey, whose names are listed with his on the Canungra memorial honouring the locals who enlisted in the Great War 1914-1918.
His enlistment papers show Francis had two years’ experience in the senior cadets in Brisbane before joining up.
In early January 1917, Francis was posted to the Mechanical Transport Service at Royal Park in Melbourne and at the end of the month embarked for overseas service on the HMAT Miltiades.
On March 28, Francis arrived in England at the Australian Army Service Corps training depot at Parkhouse on Salisbury Plain.
Francis left for France via Southampton on June 14 and became part of the 4th Australian Division Supply Column.
In March 1918, he was transferred to the 4th Australian Division Mechanical Transport Company.
Although the war had ended in November 1918, Francis continued to be stationed in France, returning to England in early June 1919 to begin the journey home.
He arrived in Australia on the Persic on September 9, 1919 and was discharged from the Army on October 11.