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Robert Alfred Rahilly was born in Ballarat and was a Moulder by trade when he enlisted in the 29th Battalion, D Company on 19 July 1915 t the age of 27. His unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A11 Ascanius on 10 November 1915. He spent the latter months of 1916 in hospital at Rouen in France suffering from mumps. During 1917 he spent several months in England engaged in specialist training. He returned to France in 1918 but on more than one occasion was in trouble for being absent without leave. In July he faced a District Court Martial for æabsenting himself without leave'.
Speaking in his own defence he explained that he æfully intended coming home on Sunday evening but I got too much to drink and went to sleep and did not wake in sufficient time to get here for parade at 8.00 am. I have served over two and a half years on active service and have no previous crime. I was in France about 20 months.' Three character witnesses were called and they all spoke highly of him but he was still found guilty and forfeited 19 day's pay. After the war he returned home on the Derbyshire, disembarking at Melbourne on April 22nd 1919.
Tree No. 3358