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Last Crasher Kirwan update

February 14, 2011

This will be the last update on the Richard Frederick Kirwan assault case story.

I have been struggling with the discovery that my great-uncle, brother of my grandfather, Frank Greer Kirwan was charged with (and acquitted of) an unlawful wounding charge for an assault on a woman in Midland, Western Australia in 1943.

I discovered this story while searching newspaper articles for a previous post.  At the time, I hoped that further research would prove that the Richard Kirwan in the story would prove to be some other Richard Kirwan, although the age and occupation of the Richard Kirwan in the story appeared to fit.

I requested the National Archives to digitise his WW2 AIF Service Record, and discovered in that process another record, of a Court Martial in 1944.  I requested that file to be examined, so that I can also request for that to be digitised.  I have not yet had a response on that request from the NAA, but I did access the digitised Service Record – and recorded the results in another post.

His service record showed that he had been absent without leave from the day after the assault, and was subsequently arrested in Victoria and returned to Western Australia for a court case, and was later subject of a Court Martial.

So it seemed fairly conclusive.

Some further research has turned up a few other things, which have added to my uneasy feelings.  The woman Richard Kirwan was charged with attacking was Mrs Dorothy Elizabeth Dawson.  Her husband was a prisoner of war.  His name was David James Dawson, and his service record indicates that he died in Thailand in a Japanese prisoner of war camp from dysentery and malaria only a few months after he was released from a military hospital after suffering pneumonia.  He died on 9 December 1945, a day before his forty-first birthday.  Dorothy and David Dawson had three children who were 11, 9 and 6 years old at the time of the attack by Richard Kirwan.

A further search of newspapers located a death notice for Dorothy Dawson’s father.  One of the articles about the charges and court case says that when Richard Kirwan came to her house, she recognised him as the husband of a friend of hers.  She was referring to Grace Mercedes Kirwan (nee Williams).  Richard divorced Grace in 1944 on “on grounds of adultery with Allen King” according to a Court report in the newspaper.  Grace and Allan King were subsequently married.  Allan King was Dorothy Dawson’s brother.

The first of a set of death notices for the father of Dorothy Dawson and Allan King, placed by his wife, lists his children and sons and daughters in law, and grandchildren.  Another notice placed by Allan and Grace and their three children includes two children not mentioned in the first notice.

I am not linking to those notices, because the children are probably still living.  However I suspect that the first two children in the notice placed by Allan and Grace may be the children of Grace and Richard.

I was always led to believe that Richard had no children.  His wife, who I spoke to and corresponded with just before he died told me he had no children.  I have never heard children of Richard referred to in family conversations.  Not that he was talked about much.  A conversation with my father’s brother confirmed that he understood Richard had two children, but that he abandoned them.

If you have found this post, and are connected to or knew Allan King, Grace Mercedes King, Dorothy Dawson or David Dawson, or their children, I would very much like to be in contact with you. If you comment on this post, the message will reach me, but I will not approve it, so it will not appear publicly.  I will respect your privacy and will not pursue this story any further.  If you would like information about Richard Kirwan’s family, I would be happy to share what I know, and will absolutely respect your wishes in regard to future contact or contact with other family members.


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