Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Daniel Poole (1882–1959)

by N. S. Foldi

This article was published:

Daniel Poole (1882-1959), seaman and soldier, was born on 21 April 1882 at Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, son of Richard Poole, baker, and his wife Anne, née Warburton. Leaving home at 11 he worked on a German sailing clipper. He came to Sydney in 1909, worked as a marine stoker and served for five years with the Royal Naval Reserve. On 13 August 1910 he married Mary O'Donnell, a domestic servant.

On 15 August 1914 Poole enlisted in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force to German New Guinea. Returning to Australia he was discharged on 5 March 1915 and, like many members of the expeditionary force, enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Poole did so on 16 May, giving his trade as marine fireman; he was 5 ft 8 ins (173 cm) tall, with fair complexion, blue eyes, fair hair and tattooed on both arms and shoulders. Posted to the 20th Battalion, he embarked on 20 June, was promoted lance corporal on 14 July and arrived in Egypt on 25 July. His unit landed at Gallipoli on 22 August and took up a position at Russell's Top until evacuated on 20 December.

After further training in Egypt the battalion moved to France, arriving at Marseilles on 25 March 1916. On 18 February Poole had been made temporary corporal. He fought on the Somme, and in July was involved in the heavy fighting at Pozières. Promoted corporal on 9 August he was made temporary sergeant on 16 August (confirmed on 1 December). On 15 April 1917, during the battle of Lagnicourt, Poole collected a party of men and led them forward under heavy fire, killing nine enemy and capturing fifteen. For his leadership and bravery he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. He was wounded on 19 April and evacuated.

Returning to his battalion on 7 September, he took part in the battle of Menin Road, Belgium. Near Westhoek on 20 September, noticing an enemy machine-gun which had come into action after the barrage and first wave had passed, Poole rushed the post single handed, captured the gun, killed the crew and took prisoner a large number of men emerging from the pill-box. But for this action many casualties would have been caused and the advance held up. Although the battalion recommendation was for award of the Victoria Cross, for what Bean called 'reckless leadership', Poole received a Bar to his D.C.M. On the same day he was again wounded. Evacuated, he returned to Australia on 4 January 1918 and was discharged from the A.I.F. on 10 August.

Returning to his work as a seaman, Poole was employed by McIlwraith, McEacharn & Co., and from 1937 Adelaide Steamship Co. On 25 October 1939 he reported for duty on mobilization of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve and was allocated to H.M.A.S. Manoora, an armed merchant cruiser, as a petty officer stoker. After service in Australian, Papuan, New Guinea and South-West Pacific waters he was discharged as medically unfit on 28 November 1941. He resumed work as mercantile marine greaser or motorman.

Poole died in Sydney on 28 July 1959 and was cremated after an Anglican service. His son survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • C. E. W. Bean, The A.I.F. in France, 1917 (Syd, 1933)
  • London Gazette, 15 June 1917 supplement, 5 Feb 1918 supplement
  • war diary, 20th Battalion, AIF (Australian War Memorial)
  • private information.

Citation details

N. S. Foldi, 'Poole, Daniel (1882–1959)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1988, accessed online 22 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 11, (Melbourne University Press), 1988

View the front pages for Volume 11

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


21 April, 1882
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England


28 July, 1959 (aged 77)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.