Robert Emmett McElhenny list in attack on H.M.A.S Canberra
June 02, 2009
Subject: Robert Emmett McElhenny
Sadly my mother, sister of Robert McElhenny has passed away. (25/05/2009).
I am the eldest son of Ellen May Deegan (nee McElhenny). Robert Emmett was my uncle.
Four years ago my mother asked me to drive her to the Mackay Harbour, here in North Queensland, her adopted home. Our family were from the Wollongong area.
The purpose of the visit to the ship, was unknown to me at the time. I thought she wanted to see the HMAS Canberra at the harbour.
She disclosed to me and a serving member of the Navy and the young TV reporter on the jetty, just what was on her mind. She wanted closure.
In the mid thirties, she had encouraged her younger brother to enter the Navy. She, in turn entered the Catholic order of Sisters of the Sacred Heart (Sister Collette).
She left the convent, for health reasons.
In fact, she ended up married to a sailor, Jack Hylton Deegan. Stoker/gunner on the HMAS Moreton Bay.
Over the years she had carried a burden, she felt it was her fault that brother Robert, had joined the Navy and had gone down with the HMAS Canberra.
I am sure she had closure that day. She never mentioned the subject again. May they rest in peace.
Sorry to learn about the loss of your Mother.
Here are the Certificates of Service for Robert and Jack.
Robert is shown on my Canberra list of casualties as Missing believed Killed in Action as:
Jack was an Able Seaman not a Stoker.