Patrick James (Jim) Gavin

First Name: 
Middle Name: 
Last Name: 
Alternate Spelling: 
Date of Birth: 
Thursday, July 23, 1885
Mother's Name: 
Mary Ann Gavin
Date Enlisted: 
Wednesday, February 2, 1916
Rank at Enlistment: 
Rank at Discharge: 
1st Light Horse
20th Reinforcements
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Date of Death: 
Friday, May 19, 1967
Place of Death: 
Fairy Meadow

Patrick James (Jim) Gavin was born on 23 July, 1885 at Mount Pleasant (Babytown).  He attended school at Mount Keira until he was old enough to work in the local coal mines. Later, he bought a house on Russell Street, Balgownie where subsequently he enlisted on 2 February, 1916 at the age of thirty joining the 1st Light Horse Battalion. Jim was one of the 200 that enlisted from Balgownie; the town had the third highest per cent per population in NSW to enlist in the First World War.

In late April, a send off was organised for him and eleven other Balgownie boys who had enlisted.

He embarked from Sydney aboard the RMS Malwa with the other Balgownie boys for the Mounted Desert Corps in the Sinai Peninsula and Palestine, through Beersheba and Damascus to Aleppo. Jim was an expert shot and was ofted used as a range finder.

Jim was wounded in a skirmish on 9 January, 1917 when he was rendering first aid to a mate who had been shot through both cheeks knocking out the back teeth.  While doing so, Jim himself was shot in the back and subsequently admitted to the 24th Stationary Hospital in Egypt.

While fighting in Egypt, Jim was either involved in the finding or the guarding of the Shellal Mosaic which is now held at the Canberra War Memorial. According to his son, a coloured parchment copy of the Mosaic was posted to his mother in Balgownie.

He returned to Australia on 23 March, 1919 and was welcomed back with three other Balgownie boys by the Repatriation Committee as well as the P&C at a Peace Celebration in Balgownie. On 12 November, 1920, the residents of Balgownie presented the returned soldiers with a medal and inscribed shield. The medal which was presented to Patrick is in the museum beneath Balgownie Public School.

According to his son, Jim did not talk much about the war unless he had some of his mates visiting.

Jim died on 19 May 1967, aged 81.  His service is commemorated on the Balgownie War Memorial 1914-1918.

Australian War Memorial, Australian Imperial Force – 1st Light Horse Regiment, Australian War Memorial Canberra, 2013, <>, viewed 6 November 2013.


Identity tag of PJ Gavin
War medal of Patrick Gavin. Inscription reads: The Great War for Civilisation 1914 - 1919.

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