Francis, the younger son of Francis and Bridget Ryan, was born in the Warialda district in 1889. He was known by family and friends as Ted. When he enlisted he was a twenty seven year old Labourer, working at Ashford. He may have been one of the volunteers who came forward to join the First Contingent of the Kurrajongs following the big recruiting rally held at Inverell on 10 January 1916. Two days later these men left Inverell together for the Narrabri and Armidale Camps.
As a member of the 33rd Battalion, Ted trained at Armidale and Rutherford. Unfortunately he became ill and missed sailing with the Battalion in May. He was then assigned to the Battalion’s 2nd Reinforcements and left Australia on HMAT A15 Port Sydney in September 1916. After arriving in England further training was undertaken at Salisbury Plain before the Battalion was sent to France on 20 December 1916.
Two months later Ted was wounded and treated for a gunshot wound to his head. The Inverell Times newspaper, 14 September 1917, published a letter he wrote home which included some news of the Battle of Messines. He said
‘… I can tell you we all had a rough time for a few days as we were seven days and nights without sleep but thank God I got through all right …’
Later in the year he was promoted to Lance Corporal. During April 1918 he was gassed and invalided to England for treatment in hospital at Bath. Three months later he rejoined his unit in France where he remained until March 1919. He returned to Australia in May and was discharged in August 1818.
Ted married Ethel Mildred Hawton in 1929 and they had one son. He was a keen footballer and a member of the Volunteer Defence Force. Ted died in 1963 at Ashford; his wife died in 1994 and they are buried in the Ashford Cemetery.
Lance Corporal Ryan is remembered at Inverell where his name is inscribed on the town’s Honor Roll.
Photo: Private collection