Ronald Joseph Sullivan
- Born: 19 Jul 1913, Narrandera,,New South Wales,Australia
- Marriage (1): Dorothy May Bennett in 1939 in Narrandera,,New South Wales,Australia
- Died: Bef 17 Mar 1983, New South Wales, Australia
Ronald enlisted in the Australian Military Forces on 24 June 1940 at Wagga Wagga. He was assigned the service number NX35665. He was a farmer and his wife Dorothy was listed as his next of kin. Her address was recorded as Waterview, Grong Grong. This farm was newly-owned by his first cousin, once removed, John Edmund Sullivan.
Ronald was initially assigned to the 2/19th Infantry Battalion and undertook 6 months of training at Walgrove, the Royal Agricultural Showgrounds and Tamworth with assignments to the 1st RR Battalion, the 2nd IT Battalion . He had the first brush with the Military Police when he was at Tamworth where he was "Admonished" for being Absent Without Leave (AWL) from 0730 hrs on 3 September 1940 to 0730 hrs 9 September. By 28 December 1940 he was granted some pre-embarkation leave and on 3 February 1941 he was en-route to the Middle East on board the HMAS USA disembarking on 16 March 1941. Like all new arrivals he spent time training in Egypt with the 16th Australian Infantry Training Battalion. On 25 March he was again in trouble for being AWL in Palestine for 25 1/4 hours. He was punished with the forfeiture of 28 days pay.
Ronald was assigned to the 1st Anti Tank Regiment on 31 March 1941 and on 24 August 1942 he was transferred to the 2/24 Battalion. On 25 October he was recorded as having been wounded in action and evacuated by the 2/37 Field ambulance. He spent 6 weeks recovering from his wounds, rejoining his unit on 12 November 1942. By 1 February 1943 his unit was heading back to Australia as the Australian forces regrouped back home to prepare for the emerging Japanese threat. They disembarked in Melbourne on 25 February 1943.
Ronald was very quickly in trouble again. On 26 May he was picked up again for being AWL. He was marched in to the 3 Australian Guard Compound, then moved to the Kissing Point Holding Centre and then returned to his unit on 31 May 1943 who were by this time located in Queensland. He was court-martialled on 5 July 1943 for being AWL from 1600 hrs on 22 March 1943 until 1730 hrs on 6 June 1943. He was found guilty and sentenced to 6 months detention and forfeited 289 days pay (for the time to be served in detention). He was sent to the 2/1 Australian Detention Barracks on 30 July. On 30 August he was given compassionate leave and left detention, returning on 17 September. It is not clear what this leave was given for.
Clearly Ronald was going through some issues. He was released from detention on 9 December 1943. However, he was reported as AWL yet again from 0600 hrs on 22 December until he returned to his unit on 6 January 1944. Perhaps he wanted to get away to spend time with his family over Christmas. But he disappeared again from 0615 hrs on 12 January 1944 until 1300 hrs on 26 January. He was fined for the first offence and docked 17 days pay, and £5 and 15 days pay for the second offence.
On 10 January Ronald had been assigned to the 1st Australian Personnel Staging Camp. He disappeared again on 3 February, a note in his file records: "Investigation Officer appointed under a MRH 448A declared on 27.3.44 that NX 35665 Pte Sullivan RJ illegally absented himself without leave from 1APSC on 3.2.44 & that he is still so absent. No declaration as to deficiencies (if any) could be made." It does appear that there was a background story to this as an entry in the file dated 31 May 1944 refers to this and says "Delete Entry". Ronald was, however, fined £5 and docked 24 days pay for being AWL from3 February until 26 February 1944.
It appears that for some of the latter period of this absence he was admitted to 116 Australian General Hospital with a torn medial collateral ligament in his right leg on 14 March, being discharged on 27 March and assigned to the 5th Australian Advanced Reinforcement Depot, 2/3 Battalion.
On 21 December 1944 Ronald boarded the Bontekoe with his unit and headed to New Guinea. They disembarked at Aitape 6 days later. Ronald served in New Guinea until 1 September 1945 when he and his unit boarded HMAS Katoomba and headed home. The war was over. Disembarking in Brisbane on 20 September, he was discharged from the army on account of demobilisation on 12 October 1945.
At the time of his discharge he was described as 5'10" tall with hazel eyes, fair hair and a fair complexion. (His Service and Casualty form records his eyes as grey and his hair brown.) He had schrapnel wounds on his legs. His discharge papers also reveal that he had four children under the age of 16, and one over the age of 16.
On 26 January 1983 his wife, Dorothy, signed a Statutory Declaration which had clearly been originally written by Ronald in which he stated that he had lost his medals on Anzac Day. Dorothy signed it as was identified as the "Trustee of Ronald J Sullivan". The medals were replaced and delivered to Dorothy at their home address, 35 Lee St, Warrawong, New South Wales on 21 March 1983. By this stage, 17 March 1983 Ronald has passed away.
Ronald was the recipient of the 1939/45 Star, the Africa Star, the Pacific Star, the Defence Medal, the War Medal 1939/45 and the Australia Service Medal.
Noted events in his life were:
• He resided at the time of his death in 35 Lee St, Warrawong, , New South Wales, Australia.
Ronald married Dorothy May Bennett in 1939 in Narrandera,,New South Wales,Australia.