Name: Joseph James Watkins McInnes


Birth Date: 1892 Where: Parkes, New South Wales
Died: 29 July, 1916 Where: Pozieres, France
Place of Enlistment: New South Wales Age: 23
Serial Number: 380 Battalion: 26th
Rank on Enlistment: Pivate Rank on Discharge/Death: Private

Awards: 1914 - 15 Star, British War Medal 1914 - 1920, Victory Medal,


Photograph McInnes

Service Details:



6 April

1915                      Enlisted, N.S.W.

9 June

1915                      Embarked Australia


1915                      Embarked Egypt

10 Sept. – 12 Dec.

1915                      Gallipoli

21 March

1916                      France

6/7 June

1916                      Trench Raid

29 July – 27 Aug.

1916                      Pozieres (Sausage Valley)

29 July

1916                      Killed in Action, Pozieres





Biographical Details:

James Joseph Watkins McInnes was born near Parkes, NSW in 1891. His parents, Hugh and Catherine McInnes, were teachers. He had an older sister, Catherine.
At the time of his enlistment James was labouring at Murwillumbah in NSW, not far from the Queensland border.
James was on the Ascanius when it left Brisbane for Fremantle, and then Egypt, in May 1915. Most of his training would have occurred in Egypt where the 7th Brigade was located for several months before transferring to Gallipoli.
After spending three months at Gallipoli the 26th Battalion, with the rest of the Australian forces, returned to Egypt to recover, re-equip, reinforce and retrain. Strangely, James went Absent Without Leave (AWL) for five days at Tel-el-kebir. He was awarded 8 days detention and forfeited 6 days pay.
Some details of James’ court martial must have reached Australia very quickly because in February, 1916, James’s father wrote to the Minister of Defense expressing concern about rumours that James had been court martialled and shot for threatening to shoot a superior officer. The fact that James’ last letter had been written when he was at Gallipoli added to his parents’ concern. The AIF was able to dispel the parents’ concerns within a few days.
The 7th Brigade was the first of the AIF to arrive in Europe and James was one of them. In June 1916 he took part in the Trench Raid as a member of the Covering Party – 14 men who were designated to cover the withdrawal of the Trench Parties.
Just 6 weeks after enjoying special leave in London, James was killed at Pozieres. His body was never recovered and his name is recorded on a wall of the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France.
A Red Cross enquiry recorded the following statement from Pte J Boddy:
He was in B. Co. I was told by Pte. J. Coghlan of the 26th Battalion, B. Co., 8th platoon … that he saw McInnes killed at Pozieres on the 29th July. We were attacking and on the way over he was close to McInnes, and saw him killed by a shell explosion. Coghlan was wounded by the same shell in the right shoulder. I knew McInnes pretty well, and also Coghlan. Coghlan was a chum of McInnes.
The only effects of James McInnes which were forwarded to his father were: testament, note-book, handkerchief.
After the war his father received James’s service medals and the Memorial Scroll and Memorial Plaque.