Harold HOOLE

HOOLE, Harold

Service Number: 3263
Enlisted: 13 March 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Smithfield, South Australia, 26 March 1891
Home Town: Smithfield, Playford, South Australia
Schooling: Smithfield Public School, South Australia
Occupation: Shop assistant
Died: Died of Illness (POW of Germany - pulmanery TB), Belgium, 29 December 1917, aged 26 years
Cemetery: Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Ballarat Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial, Burra District WW1 Honor Roll, Burra Fallen Soldiers Memorial, Farrell Flat Memorial Hall, Gawler Council Gawler Men Who Answered the Call WW1 Roll of Honor, Gawler War Memorial, Port Pirie Oval WW1 Memorial Gates, Smithfield Honor Roll WW1, Smithfield War Memorial, Tumby Bay RSL Portrait Memorials, Tumby Bay War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

13 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 3263, Adelaide, South Australia
27 Jun 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 3263, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '17' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Malakuta embarkation_ship_number: A57 public_note: ''
27 Jun 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 3263, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Malakuta, Adelaide
9 Dec 1916: Imprisoned Captured near Bapaume

A Soldiers Story

Harold was born on 25 Jul 1893 at Smithfield (SA) to Thomas Hoole and Christina Hoole (nee Kinnear). There were 11 children in the family, 7 boys and 4 girls, of which he was the youngest. His family lived in Smithfield (SA) .
Harold went to school at Smithfield. On completion of schooling he moved to Lipson and worked in the store and post office as a shop assistant until his enlistment in the Army at Adelaide , aged 23 years. At the time of enlistment he recorded his occupation as shop assistant.
On enlistment Harold was sent to 2nd Depot Battalion (Bn) at Mitcham for training before being allocated to 32nd Bn.
The 32nd Bn was raised as part of the 8th Brigade at Mitcham on 9 August 1915. Two companies were raised in South Australia, the other two were formed in Western Australia. The Bn concentrated at Mitcham at the end of Sep 1915, before sailing from Adelaide on 18 Nov 1915 to Egypt and then to France and the Western Front, arriving in Jun1916.
The 32nd Bn fought its first major battle at Fromelles on 19 Jul 1916, having only entered the front-line trenches 3 days previously. The attack was a disastrous introduction to battle for the Bn. It suffered 718 casualties, almost 75 per cent of the Bn's total strength, but closer to 90 per cent of its actual fighting strength. Although it still spent periods in the front line, the Bn played no major offensive role for the rest of the year.
After completion of training Harold embarked aboard HMAT "Matakuta" bound for the UK, disembarking at Devonport on 22 Aug 1916. he then undertook a further period of training before embarking aboard the "Golden Eagle" on 11 Nov 1916, bound for France.
Harold finally arrived at his unit and was taken on strength on 25 Nov 1916. Less than 2 weeks later he was reported as missing in action (MIA) on 9 Dec 1916. A further 2 weeks later (26 Dec 1916) it was reported that he had actually been captured on 8 Dec 1916 at Grandecourt and was being held as a prisoner of war (POW) at Krieg's Lazarette (museum) at Tournai (Belgium).
On 6 Mar 1918 it was reported that he had died of disease, Pulmonary Tuberculosis, whilst a German POW, although witness accounts state that he actually died on 29 Dec 1917. Statements by other POWs indicate that when Harold was taken to hospital at the camp he was not given appropriate treatment. One witness states that: "I saw Pte Hoole die in this hospital (Tournai) on 29 Dec 1917. He was there only a short time and died from starvation. They gave him an injection and 10 minutes later he died." Another witness states: " I saw Pte Hoole ... he died because he was neglected." Both these witness statements could well have been as a result of the emaciation caused by the disease from which the soldier purportedly died.
He was originally buried at Tournai Communal Cemetery, German Extension North. On 25 Jun 1925 his remains were exhumed and reinterred at Tournai Communal Cemetery, Allied Extension West: in a letter to his next of kin the Imperial War Graves Commission explained that this was undertaken so that his remains would not be isolated in a foreign communal burial ground.
Once again we see the delays and confusion in the passage of information at this time. The soldier's parents had deceased and it was not known who was his next of kin or where they were located. On 6 Jan 1923 it was confirmed that the official next of kin was his brother and the memorial scroll and medals were sent to this person, 5 years after the death of the soldier!

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Biography contributed by Cheryl Hutchins

"...3263 Private Harold Hoole, 32nd Battalion. A shop assistant from Smithfield, South Australia, prior to enlistment, he embarked with the 7th Reinforcements from Adelaide on 27 June 1916 aboard HMAT Malakuta (A57) for Devonport, England. After training in England he proceeded to France and joined his battalion on the Western Front near Montauban, France in late November 1916. Pte Hoole was reported missing in action near Bapaume on 9 December 1916 and was subsequently reported to be a prisoner of war. Pte Hoole died of illness while a prisoner of war. He was aged 26 years." - SOURCE (www.awm.gov.au)

"I saw (3263) Pte Hoole H. 32 Battalion die at this hospital (Tournai) on 29/12/17.  He was there only a short time and died of starvation. If he had been given something to eat he would have been saved. They gave him an injection and 10 minutes later he died." - 2937 Pte. William Clarence Mitchell (/explore/people/185144) from p.13 of Harold Hoole's Service Record (recordsearch.naa.gov.au)