Lieutenant Ronald Alison McInnis (Surveyor)
Born and raised in Mackay, Queensland, Ronald Alison McInnis became registered on 8 October 1912 as an Authorised surveyor. At the age of 24, he enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force and departed Australia from Brisbane on 24 May 1915 with the 26th Infantry Battalion.
McInnis was deployed to Gallipoli that year and for the first two months, he rotated in and out of the trenches as he surveyed and mapped the extensive trench and tunnel system at Quinn’s Post. After that, McInnis in early 1916, was sent to the Western front. In September 1916 he was promoted to the rank of officer of the 53rd Infantry Battalion where he was tasked with the construction & repair of the trenches. His diaries describe in great detail the battles in which he participated.
In October 1916, he experienced some heavy shelling and what he described as a brush with death when a salvo of shells landed nearby, forcing the wall of the trench to collapse on him. The soft earth was hard to get out of, and without assistance from his unit, who dug him out, he would have been crushed to death.
In 1917 he was promoted to Lieutenant and participated in the battle at Passchendaele, and his last major battle was at St. Quentin Canal in September 1918.
After the Armistice, McInnis left via London to return to Australia on 23 March 1919