Private Richard Joseph Horan was born in 1893 in Bathurst, NSW. The eldest son of Joseph and Bridget Horan, he completed his schooling at St. Aloysius College Sydney. He followed his father - who was the Superintendent of Rolling Stock - into the Department of Railways.
Private Horan began work as a fitter at the water supply branch of Eveleigh Workshops where he was to work for the next five years. On 24 August 1914 he became a member of the Australian Imperial Forces. He was now known as Private R. J. Horan 704 of the 1st Battalion. Six weeks after enlisting, Private Horan sailed on the Alfric to Egypt, as a member of the 1st Battalion. Their training continued in Lemnos, Greece. In Lemnos the 1st Battalion participated in disembarkation practice. This training was in preparation for the role of the battalion in the Gallipoli landing.
Private Horan was killed in action during the landing at Anzac Cove on Sunday 25 April 1915. He was 22. A survivor from the Battalion remembered their experience:
At 5am we were anchored some two miles from the shore, waiting for the destroyers which were to land us…. At 7 o’clock the first destroyer got away… the Turks were alive to the situation now. Bedlam had broken loose. The shattering crash of bigger guns mingled with a vicious tattoo of rifle fire. The water was lashed by bullets and shells. Volcanoes of spray shot into the air…
When we were near enough to the shore we transferred ourselves to the ship’s boats and rowed ashore landing without much difficulty on what was to be known as Anzac Beach… Here we waited for orders while engineers of the 3rd Brigade were engaged in forming a rough track up the hillside.
Our orders when they came were very vague. We were to reinforce the firing line… 1
By evening of 25 April 2015, 16,000 soldiers had disembarked at Anzac Cove and 2,000 of those who had been killed or wounded were Australian. The 1st Battalion at the landing had consisted of 942 men and 30 officers. Within the first four days of the attack, 366 of these individuals were missing, wounded or killed. Private Richard Horan was buried in Quinn’s Corner by Reverend F.W. Wray. His personal effects had consisted of a deck of cards, a pipe case and a rosary. These items were returned to his family.