A missing gold watch presented to Martin O’Meara VC, Australia’s only Irish-born Victoria Cross recipient of the First World War, may still be somewhere in Co. Tipperary.
O’Meara’s sister Alice was presented with the watch, which was supplied by jeweller Thomas Tobin of Castle Street, Nenagh, on 24 November 1916 in Lorrha. O’Meara had returned to his unit and was unable to attend the presentation.
His sister seems to have given him the medal when he visited Lorrha in 1917, and he had it with him when he returned to Australia in November 1918.
Sadly, O’Meara suffered a mental breakdown shortly after returning to Australia and spent the rest of his life in mental hospitals. He died in 1935.
His watch was returned to his family in Co. Tipperary in the late 1940s after he died, but it disappeared sometime after that. The watch, which may have the serial number 75249 inscribed on it, may have been sold within the county, and may still be held locally.
Whilst not likely to be particularly valuable simply as a watch, it has great historical value and it would be good to see it returned to his family or displayed in a museum such as the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.