Private Max Horan was allotted the regimental number of QX1166 and he joined Recruit Reception Depot at Redbank Camp on 4th November 1939. He was allocated to the 2nd/9th Infantry Battalion and proceeded to Eastern Command in New South Wales on 18th December 1939. He was transferred to the 2nd/1st Machine Gun Battalion at Rutherford on 19th December 1939. He was admitted to the Camp Dressing Station at Ingleburn suffering from mumps on 15th April 1940 and he remained a patient there until 7th June 1940. He embarked for overseas service with the Australian Imperial Force from Sydney in New South Wales on 4th May 1940 on the “Queen Mary” and he disembarked from the ship at Gourock in Scotland on 17th June 1940. The 2nd/1st Machine Gun Battalion was based on Salisbury Plain near Tidworth as part of the Australian contingent to defend Britain against possible German invasion. He embarked for service in the Middle East from Glasgow in Scotland on the ship “Otrango” on 14th November 1940 and disembarked at Kantara in Egypt in the Middle East on 30th December 1940. The Battalion moved into camp at Ikingi Maryutand where it received desert training.
Private Max Horan left with his battalion for service in Greece on 29th March 1941 when an invasion by German forces was expected. Whilst fighting against German forces he became wounded in action and missing in Greece on 17th April 1941. He was later reported to have died from multiple gunshot wounds in Greece on 21st May 1941. He was buried in the field at Levadia in Greece. At the time of his death he was 29 years of age. After the war his remains were exhumed by the Graves Registration Unit and reinterred in the Phaleron War Cemetery. His headstone in the Phaleron War Cemetery contains the family inscription “Always Remembered”.
Private Max Horan, for his service during World War 2 had entitlement for the 1939/1945 Star, the Africa Star with 8th Clasp, the Defence Medal, the War Medal and the Australian Service Medal. His next of kin received the King’s Scroll on 14th November 1949. His name is commemorated on Panel No. 74 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School WW2 Honour Board.
The following report appeared in the Courier Mail on 4th June 1941:
PRIVATE MAX HORAN. Word was received by Mr R. Horan, of Greenmount, on June 3rd, that his eldest son, Private Max R. Horan, had been killed in action with the A.I.F. abroad. Previously Mr Horan had received word that his son had been wounded and was missing. Private Horan enlisted from Toowoomba at the outbreak of war and served in England before he was sent to the Middle East. As a schoolboy he was one of Queensland’s outstanding athletes. When he attended the Greenmount State School he was the champion athlete of the Downs, winning the title on two occasions at the combined schools’ meeting in Toowoomba. He created a Queensland State School high jump record.
He attended the Toowoomba Grammar School and met with outstanding success on its sporting fields. He won his colours for football, athletics and swimming, and captained the athletics team. He won the School’s athletics championship and the Headmaster’s Cup which goes with it. In the football team he was a particularly fast wing three-quarter. Leaving the Grammar School he worked on his father’s property, “Lincoln Vale,” at Greenmount, until he enlisted. He was a very popular and capable member of the Past Grammar Rugby Union Club for many years, playing on the wing and as breakaway forward. He was a member of the Greenmount team which won the Country Districts Rugby Union championship and the “Chronicle” Shield some years ago.
Private Horan, who was 29 years of age, is survived by his father and mother (Mr and Mrs R. Horan), two brothers – Private Jeff Horan, with the A.I.F. abroad, and Mr Keith Horan, of Greenmount – and one sister, Miss Una Horan. Private Jeff Horan is well known in Rugby Union circles in Queensland, having been Toowoomba’s and Queensland’s scrum half.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a boarder on 1st July 1927 and left the School on 6th December 1929. His parent is shown as Randolph Henry Horan, a Grazier residing at Greenmount. He was Junior champion in the annual sports in 1927. In 1929 he was awarded the Colonel Fortescue Medal for athletics.