Lance Corporal Paul Denehey

On June 6th 1965 an Australian Soldier was gored by a wild elephant while on patrol along the Sabah Border in Borneo, suffering for days and eventually dying alone in the jungle. His name was Paul Harold Denehey, a descendant of Philip Dennehy and Mary Collins, who had left Millstreet in the 1800’s for Australia shortly after they married, settling in Snug, Tasmania.

After his death, he was buried in Singapore, but now his family are battling to have him repatriated to Australia. Support them and see some of the fruits of their work can be seen on their page to him: Bring Paul Home-as offered in 1975 Buried in Singapore since 1965. Below is the newspaper report from the Melbourne Herald at the time of his death:


Last Known photo of LC Paul Denehey


In October 2018, the request to return Paul’s body was refused by the Australian Government

Bring Paul home
THE family of a soldier killed on overseas service say they are shocked and devastated the federal government has rejected their bid to recover his remains.

A letter to the family from Veterans Aairs Minister Darren Chester denied their request for Lance Corporal Paul Denehey’s repatriation.
The soldier was a signaller in the Special Air Service from 1962 to 1965. He died in Borneo after a rogue elephant gored him during a patrol.
He was buried in Ulu Pandan Cemetery in Singapore, then relocated to Kranji Cemetery in 1975.
Mr Chester wrote that the government was unable to nd evidence of a letter the family say was sent to them oering three options for his body, one being repatriation.
“I sought all available information from a number of sources as well as those you provided in making my determination, ” he said.
But the dead soldier’s sister Sheri Gigliotti, of Emerald, said she “vividly” remembered her mother reading the letter from the Commonwealth War Graves in England dated September 8, 1975, and requiring a response by October 31.
She said the family received the letter a month after the closing date.
“They have no evidence to prove that it didn’t come. I remember my mother reading this letter, and to have another denial after all these years is just so gut wrenching, ” Ms Gigliotti said.
Lance-Cpl Denehey’s older sister Karen Greenwood said the family was shocked by the minister’s decision. “We’re back to square one,” Ms Greenwood said.
“Each time we try to repatriate him we relive what Paul went through when he died and it’s horrific.
We can’t sleep thinking about the sheer horror he experienced. “For the minister to not consider our family’s personal grief is just devastating.”
Former SAS trooper and Australian Commando Association national secretary John Thurgar said he strongly believed the option to repatriate Lance-Cpl Denehey was offered to the family.
Mentone RSL president Barry Lowe urged the minister to reconsider.



37562 Lance-Corporal
Paul Harold DENEHEY (1944-1965)
1 Squadron, Special Air Service Regiment

Paul Denehey joined the Australian Regular Army on 22 February 1962, was allocated to the Royal Australian Corps of Signals, and joined 1 SAS Company, The Royal Australian Regiment on 13 August 1963. During a four-man Operation ‘Claret’ reconnaissance patrol along the Sabah-Kalimantan border during Confrontation, LCPL Denehey was attacked and gored by a rogue elephant on 2 June 1965.

Lance-Corporal Denehey died of wounds in the field between 5 and 7 June, with a date of death finally recorded by Army as 6 June 1965. He was originally buried at Ulu Pandan Military Cemetery in Singapore on 12 June 1965 with full military honours. Images supplied by the family.

In Singapore, by the early 1970s, it was found necessary to close down the Pasir Panjang and Ulu Pandan cemeteries to make way for development. Lance-Corporal Denehey was re-interred in Kranji Military Cemetery in Singapore (plot 11, row C, grave 15), and he remains at rest in Singapore today. [Thanks Digger]


Philip Dennehy and Mary Collins

Philip Dennehy (of Millstreet) and Mary Collins marriage in the Catholic Registrations (Glenflesk) says they were married on June 10th 1836. Bunacummer is mentioned, but it’s desperately hard to read the scan of the register properly. There’s a page on that says that their first child Julia was born at sea on the Bussorah Merchant in 1837. The Bussorah Merchant was a ship that travelled from the UK and Ireland to Australia. Their next child Margaret was born in Tasmania in 1839. But 1837/1839 was before the famine, so it’s likely that they were travelling for opportunity, and just to get a better life. Philip became a barman of a pub in Margate, and they went on to have 12 children: [1]

Julia Denehey 1837–1919
Margret Denehey 1839–1862
John Denehey 1841–1904
Mary Denehey 1843–1859
Catherine Cecily Denehey Miss 1845–1873
Cornelius Denehey 1848–1923
Margaret Denehey Miss 1848–1862
Michael Joseph Denehey 1850–1934
Elizabeth Denehey 1851–1917
Philip Denehey 1855–1933
Eleanor Denehey 1858–1902
Anne Jane Denehey 1861–1899

[Church Marriage Registration] of Philip Dennehy and Mary Collins
[Church Marriage Original Registration Book] – The original register is hard to read, but is at the bottom of this page

[ancestry – Philip Denehey]
[ancestry – Paul Harold Denehey]
[ancestry – James Denehey (Paul’s father)]

The Mercury Tuesday 16th December 1879; p1 DEATH
Denehy:- On December 14 at the Snug, Philip Denehy, in his 73rd year. The funeral will move from his late residence this afternoon at 2 o’clock when friends are respectfully invited to attend. This notice would have been in yesterday’s paper had there been a telegram office in the Snug, or at Margate; the nearest one is 10 miles distant

Headstone for Philip Dennehey [1]




Bussorah Merchant that they travelled on was a merchant ship built at Calcutta in 1818. She made three voyages transporting convicts from England and Ireland to Australia and later carried emigrants and other passengers to Australia. [wiki]


— Another of the Dennehys: Phillip James George Denehey served in the Australian Army in WW1.

5 thoughts on “Lance Corporal Paul Denehey”

  1. Easter Saturday, 2020, Australia.
    This data is so useful to me, Elizabeth Denehey Jones, a great- grand daughter of Philip Denahy 0f Millstreet. It confirms that Philip married and migrated to Australia. For many years I have been trying to find Philip’s parent names but have run into a brick wall. I traced through Philip’s wife Mary Collins’ family but seem to be on the wrong track there too. I cannot trace Philip’s birth date either tho have checked on line parish registers . Philip named his first son John, so am hoping that was Philip’s father’s name also.

  2. The Marriage of Philip Dennehy & Mary Collins on the link here is recorded in the Catholic Parish of Glenflesk, Co. Kerry – not Millstreet, Co. CORK (which is also in the Catholic Diocese of Kerry) but totally different to Millstreet.

    1. Yes Kay, that’s what it says in the above article. Glenflesk is about 15 miles west of us here in Millstreet. That’s where Mary was from, Philip being from Millstreet.

  3. Michael, thank you for coming back. I stand corrected. You are right of course. Covid 19 is having a bad effect on my brain, I think. Do you or whoever was doing the Millstreet research, have any inkling as to why Philip and Mary might have decided to leave on this particular scheme? How would they have even heard about it? That is what we are trying to solve. You are the first person who has come back with a direct overview from one of the original passengers.

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