Corporal James George Flynn, the son of John George Flynn and Elizabeth Ewart Flynn (nee Wren) was born at Toowoomba in Queensland on 12th November 1916. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School. At the age of 26 years he was mobilized into the Australian Citizens Military Forces at Toowoomba on 3rd December 1941 after swearing the statutory oath that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. At the time of his mobilization he was unmarried, employed as a School Teacher and he resided at 125 James Street in Toowoomba. His physical description was that he had dark hair and brown eyes. He stated that he was of the Presbyterian religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr George Flynn, 125 James Street, Toowoomba. Shortly after his mobilization he married Thelma Mae Flynn on 20th December 1941. His next of kin was changed to his wife, Mrs Thelma Mae Flynn, c/- District Records Office, Warwick, Queensland.
Corporal James Flynn was allotted the regimental number of Q104149 and allocated to the 25th Infantry Battalion. He joined the battalion at Cabarlah Camp on 23rd December 1941. He was admitted to the Camp Dressing Station at Cabarlah suffering from influenza during the period 20th January until 27th January 1942. He was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal whilst training with his battalion on 30th April 1942. He was admitted to the 7th Field Ambulance Unit at Townsville with an eye problem on 15th June 1942. He embarked for overseas service in Papua New Guinea on the ship “Tasman” on 8th July 1942 and he disembarked at Milne Bay (Fall River) on 11th July 1942.
Corporal James Flynn was promoted to the rank of Acting Corporal on 12th December 1942 and he was promoted to substantive rank on 13th March 1943. Whilst serving with his battalion at Donadabu near Port Moresby he voluntarily enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 23rd March 1943 and he was allotted a new regimental number of QX50869. He was evacuated to the 11th Field Ambulance Unit suffering from malaria on 26th April 1943 and he remained a patient at the hospital until 7th May 1943 when he rejoined his battalion at Donadabu. He was evacuated to the 2nd/2nd Casualty Clearing Station suffering from malaria on 12th August 1943 and he was transferred to No. 113 Convalescent Depot on 25th August 1943. He remained a patient at the Convalescent Depot until 27th September 1943 and he rejoined his battalion at Donadabu on 30th September 1943.
Corporal James Flynn attended and passed (79%) a New Guinea Force Weapon Training Course during the period 26th November until 28th December 1943 and he rejoined his battalion later that day. He embarked from Port Moresby on the ship “Canberra” on 5th January 1944 and he disembarked from the ship in Cairns on 7th January 1944. He was evacuated to the 2nd/2nd Australian General Hospital suffering from malaria on 14th March 1944 and he was discharged to the 2nd Australian Convalescent Rest Centre on 27th March 1944. He rejoined his battalion at Mulgrave River in North Queensland on 28th March 1944. Corporal James Flynn embarked from Cairns on the ship “Katoomba” on 20th July 1944 and he disembarked at Madang in New Guinea on 24th July 1944. He embarked from Madang on the ship “Santa Monica” on 12th November 1944 and he disembarked at Torokina, Bougainville on 15th November 1944.
Corporal James George Flynn was killed in action during the 25th battalion’s advance down the Buin Road in Bougainville on 19th March 1945. At the time of his death he was 28 years of age. He was buried in the field. On 11th June 1945 Lieutenant Chesterton and Chaplin Cahill returned to the previous area of operations to identify the graves of those men killed earlier in the year. Corporal Flynn’s grave was the only one not found as a new road had been built in the area of his resting place. His name is therefore recorded on the Port Moresby Memorial to the missing.
James Flynn’s name is commemorated on Panel No. 66 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board. For his service during World War 2, James Flynn had entitlement for the 1939/1945 Star, the Pacific Star, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal 1939/1945.
His photo and the following obituary was published in the School Magazine in June 1945:
Corporal James George Flynn, A.I.F., who was killed in action at Bougainville on March 19, 1945, had three and a half years’ service, and had seen action in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Corporal Flynn matriculated from the Toowoomba Grammar School. In civil life he was a member of the teaching profession, and had taught at the Surat, St. George and Preston Schools. Corporal Flynn, who was 28 years of age, was the husband of Private T.M. Flynn, A.W.A.S., of Surat, at present stationed at Cairns. He was a son of Mrs E. Flynn and the late John George Flynn, and a brother of Jean and the late John (“Sandy”) Flynn, of 125 James Street, Toowoomba. Another brother, Leading Aircraftman Chris Flynn, is serving with the R.A.A.F. in the Pacific area.
A comprehensive history of the 25th Battalion’s service during World War 2 can be found in Bob Doneley’s book, “Toowoomba to Torokina”, Big Sky Publishing, Newport, New South Wales. 2012. ISBN 97819219411580. The book contains a Nominal Roll and also a Roll of Honour.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a day student on 29th January 1931 and that he left the School after completing his Senior on 30th November 1934. His parent was shown as M. Flynn, James Street, Toowoomba. He passed 8 subjects in his Junior examination and 7 subjects in his Senior Examination. He was a member of the Debating Society whilst at the School.