Hugo Vivian Hope THROSSELL VC, MID

THROSSELL, Hugo Vivian Hope

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 5 October 1914, Guildford, Western Australia
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 10th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Northam, Western Australia, 27 October 1884
Home Town: Koorda, Koorda, Western Australia
Schooling: Prince Alfred College, Adelaide
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Suicide , Greenmount, Western Australia , 19 November 1933, aged 49 years
Cemetery: Karrakatta Cemetery & Crematorium, Perth, W.A.
Memorials: Camden Haven Memorial, WW1, Hugo Throssell VC Memorial, Keith Payne VC Memorial Park, Northam Memorial Hospital, Winchelsea WWI Memorial
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World War 1 Service

5 Oct 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Guildford, Western Australia
19 Feb 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 10th Light Horse Regiment
19 Feb 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, SN Officer, 10th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Itonus, Fremantle
22 Jan 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, 10th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Bulla, Fremantle
22 Jan 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Captain, 10th Light Horse Regiment
13 Feb 1919: Discharged AIF WW1

Help us honour Hugo Vivian Hope THROSSELL's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Zoe Matakakis

Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell was a Captain in the 10th Light Horse Regiment in WW1 and proudly served his country for several years. Hugo Throssell was born on the 28th of October 1884 in Northam, Western Australia. He was one of fourteen children, the youngest son, and his parents’ names were George and Annie Throssell. He went to school in Adelaide, South Australia at Prince Alfred College, an all boys school, which is still running today in Kent town. From there he became a champion athlete and boxer. Before the war, he was a single farmer and jackeroo at cattle ranches (1912-1933) in the north of Western Australia.[1] His religious pathways both followed Anglican and Methodist as well as the Chuch of England. He was about 5’11” in height and weighed around 73 kgs. He had a long face with strong physical features. 

Previous Military Service: Served for six and a half years as a Trooper, 18th Australian Light Horse; 4 months as Sergeant, 10th Australian Light Horse; Six years' service with the 18th and 10th Regiments of the Militia. His next of kin was his brother-in-law, P.W Armstrong, living in Perth, Western Australia.[2] In 1914, on the 29th of September, he enlisted with his older brother Frank Eric (Ric) Cottrell Throssell who he was very close with. They enlisted in the city of Guildford, Western Australia and were enlisted from the nominal roll on October 5th, 1914.

On the 19 of February 1915, he was involved in the AIF WW1 10th Light Horse Regiment (LHR). He was ranked a second lieutenant and embarked on the HMAT A50 Itonus from Fremantle to serve in the 10th LHR in Egypt. Three days prior to the charge at the Nek, on the 4th of August 1915, Throssell landed in Gallipoli where nine officers and 73 men of his regiment were killed within a concise time frame.[3] Throssell was one of the leaders of the last line of attacking troops, which afterwards was recalled after having progressed a few metres. He wanted to avenge the 10th L.H.R, yet like many of the other Anzac troops, he was battle-worn, ill as well as exhausted. A chance to prove his worth came later in August, at Hill 60. At Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay, British and Anzac troops attempted to widen the strip of foreshore between the two bridgeheads by capturing the hills near the bay. Hill 60, a small mound, lay about 800 metres from the beach. The battle had been raging for a week with heavy losses caused by confusion and communication error. On the 29th of August, the 10th L.H.R was commanded to overtake a long trench, 91 metres of which, on the peak of Hill 60, was apprehended by Turkish troops. While his men constructed a barricade across their part of the trench, Throssell acted as a guard and killed five Turks. Soon after a brutal bomb fight broke out, Throssell and his soldiers clasped their weapons on short fuse until the very last moment before aiming them at the enemy in the opposite area. More than 3’000 bombs were thrown that night, most of which the Western Australians picked them up and launched them back at the Turks straight after they had. Halted by showers of bombs and heavy rifle-fire, the Turks, made three unsuccessful rushes at the Australian trench. Throssell, who at one stage was in charge, was hurt twice. One from bomb splinters in his forehead with heavy bleeding though he continued encouraging his men. Another wound being a gunshot wound to his right shoulder right shoulder. He was admitted to the 16th Casualty Clearing Station but then transferred to Mudros, and thenceforth to England; admitted to 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, 13 September 1915.

He was ruled unfit for service by the medical board and embarked from Portland to Australia for three months' leave on the 17th March 1916. He was then promoted from the second lieutenant to lieutenant on the 20th May 1916. 

On the 22nd of January 1917 the 10th Light Horse Regiment Embarked AIF WW1 he was an acting Captain when the vessel HMAT Bulla left Fremantle. The L.H.R was relocated back to Egypt but was wounded in April 1917 at the 2nd battle of Gaza. His brother Ric was killed in combat on the 19th of April.[4] Hugo searched for his brother across the battlefield under heavy fire while whistling for him, the same signal they had used when growing up, but he was not found. In Palestine, Hugo returned to and led his regiment for the final offensives at the fall of Jerusalem. On the 18th of February 1917 Throssell’s regiment was taken on strength when marching into an isolation camp near Mostar. He was then again wounded in action, 19 April 1917 and was admitted to the 53rd Welsh Casualty Clearing Station. Followed by being transferred to 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital on the 20th of  April 1917; then to 24th Stationary Hospital on the 23rd of April 1917; to 14th Australian General Hospital, Abbassia, on the 25th of April 1918; then finally transferred to the 14th Convalescent Hospital, on June 5th 1917; and later rejoined the 10th Light Horse Regiment, July 23rd 1917. A few months later in December of 1917 he was admitted to the 3rd Light Horse Field Ambulance but was returned to duty the day after on the 21st.

After spending some time at the stationary hospital in January of 1918, he was then transferred to Desert Mounted Column Rest Camp on the 6th of February. Afterwards, he joined a training program but returned to his unit on the 27th of April 1918. He was diagnosed with Pork Tapeworm on the 20th of April and stayed in the 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital until he was discharged on the 3rd of May and rejoined the 10th L.H.R on the 10th. He then had a fever in Jericho, Palestine, on the 17 June was transferred to many other hospitals until was discharged on convalescent leave until the 20th of August 1918. Throssell returned to the Desert Mounted Column Headquarters on the 23rd of August and awaited embarkation to Australia for recruiting. The return to Australia commenced on the 4th of September on board the HT Suffolk. [5]The following year after arriving back in Melbourne on the 17th of October 1918 he was discharged from all service in 1919 on the 13th of February in Perth.

 Life after the war for Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell was fulfilling but short lived. After meeting Katharine Susannah Prichard during the war he later found and married her when returning to Melbourne on the 28th of January 1919. He met her in England, her hometown and she was an Australian author as well as a member of the communist party. They lived on a 16 hectare mixed farm property in Greenmount, near Perth. Hugo joined her as a speaker supporting unemployed workers in the 1920’s. He claimed that the war had changed him into a socialist and pacifist. With Katharine’s successful novels and his Victoria Cross they became very popular. He was also acting as a representative on the Returned Soldiers' Land Settlement Board. Throssell and his wife had a child on the 10th of May 1922 and named him after his late brother Frank Eric (Ric) Cottrell Throssell, who had died alongside him in battle in 1917. During the Great Depression, Hugo’s family suffered. He worked as a gold miner in the early 1930’s but when that did not help he was left in a significant amount of debt. He believed that his wife and 11-year old son would benefit from a widows war pension, so, when Katharine went to the peace corp he shot himself stating the hope for financial benefit in his suicide note. He died at the age of 49, on the 19th of November 1933 to which his friends labelled his suicide as a fit of melancholy caused by an attack of meningitis.[6] The war pension was approved and his burial was with full military honours in Perth. There are memorials of him, one opposite his home and one in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.



[1] Life Summary - Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell - Australian Dictionary of Biography. 2017. Life Summary - Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell - Australian Dictionary of Biography. [ONLINE] Available at: http://adb.anu.edu.au/lifesummary/throssell-hugo-vivian-hope-8806. [Accessed 17 June 2017].
[2] Details. 2017. Details. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=300932. [Accessed 17 June 2017].
[3] Biography - Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell - Australian Dictionary of Biography. 2017. Biography - Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell - Australian Dictionary of Biography. [ONLINE] Available at: http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/throssell-hugo-vivian-hope-8806. [Accessed 18 June 2017].
[4] Frank Erick Cottrell 'Eric' Throssell  (1881-1917) | WikiTree: The FREE Family Tree. 2017. Frank Erick Cottrell 'Eric' Throssell (1881-1917) | WikiTree: The FREE Family Tree. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Throssell-18. [Accessed 18 June 2017].
[5] Details. 2017. Details. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.aif.adfa.edu.au/showPerson?pid=300932. [Accessed 19 June 2017].
[6] Hugo Throssell - Wikipedia. 2017. Hugo Throssell - Wikipedia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Throssell#First_World_War. [Accessed 19 June 2017].

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Biography

Hugo Throssell is the subject of Australian journalist John Hamilition in his book 'The Price of Valour: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Gallipoli Hero, Hugo Throssell, VC.

"Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell (1884-1933), soldier and farmer, was born on 26 October 1884 at Northam, Western Australia, youngest son of George Throssell, storekeeper and later premier, and his wife Anne, née Morrell. One of fourteen children, Hugo was educated at Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, where he captained the football team and became a champion athlete and boxer. He then worked as a jackeroo on cattle stations in the north of the State. In 1912 he and his brother, Frank Erick (Ric) Cottrell (b.1881), took up land at Cowcowing in the Western Australian wheatbelt. Severe drought during the next two years strengthened the bond between them; they were later described as 'David and Jonathan' in their devotion to one another. Hugo was tall, with a long face and strong features.

With the outbreak of war Hugo and Ric joined the 10th Light Horse Regiment, formed in October 1914. Hugo was commissioned as second lieutenant and remained in Egypt when the 10th was sent to Gallipoli in May 1915. He landed on Gallipoli on 4 August, three days before the charge at the Nek—'that FOOL charge' as he described it—when 9 officers and 73 men of his regiment were killed within minutes. Throssell was one of the leaders of the fourth and last line of attacking troops which was recalled after having advanced only a few yards. This experience increased his eagerness to prove himself in battle. He wanted to avenge the 10th L.H.R. which, like so many of the Anzac troops, was battle-worn, sick and depleted. His chance came later that month at Hill 60 during a postponed attempt by British and Anzac troops to widen the strip of foreshore between the two bridgeheads at Anzac and Suvla by capturing the hills near Anafarta. Hill 60, a low knoll, lay about half a mile (0.8 km) from the beach. Hampered by confusion and lack of communication between the various flanks, the battle had been raging for a week with heavy losses.

At 1 a.m. by moonlight on 29 August the 10th Light Horse was brought into action to take a long trench, 100 yards (91 m) of which was held by Turkish troops on the summit of Hill 60. As a guard, Throssell killed five Turks while his men constructed a barricade across their part of the trench. When a fierce bomb fight began, 'a kind of tennis over the traverse and sandbags', Throssell and his soldiers held their bombs on short fuse until the last possible moment before hurling them at the enemy on the other side of the barricade. Throughout the remainder of the night both sides threw more than 3000 bombs, the Western Australians picking up the bombs thrown at them by the Turks and hurling them back. Towards dawn the Turks made three rushes at the Australian trench, but were stopped by showers of bombs and heavy rifle-fire. Throssell, who at one stage was in sole command, was wounded twice. His face covered in blood from bomb splinters in his forehead, he repeatedly yelled encouragement to his men. For his part in the battle Hugo Throssell was awarded the Victoria Cross. It was the first V.C. to be won by a Western Australian in the war..." - READ MORE LINK (adb.anu.edu.au)

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