Service Number: 2028
Enlisted: 10 June 1915
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 26th Infantry Battalion
Born: Lilydale, Tasmania, Australia, 1894
Home Town: Derby, Tasmania
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Died of wounds, France, 30 September 1918
Cemetery: Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension
Plot IV, Row G, Grave No 2.
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Derby WW1 Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

10 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2028, 26th Infantry Battalion
10 Sep 1915: Involvement Private, 2028, 26th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: SS Makarini embarkation_ship_number: '' public_note: ''
10 Sep 1915: Embarked Private, 2028, 26th Infantry Battalion, SS Makarini, Melbourne
30 Sep 1918: Involvement Sergeant, 2028, 26th Infantry Battalion, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 2028 awm_unit: 26th Australian Infantry Battalion awm_rank: Sergeant awm_died_date: 1918-09-30

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Biography contributed by Stephen Brooks

Colin Harper was born in Northern Tasmania probably around 1894. He was abandoned as an infant into the care of Mrs. Susan Chalklen in the town of Lilydale, Tasmania. He was only about seven months old at the time. She took on the responsiblity of raising him. 

Colin was working around Derby and Pioneer before he enlisted. He joined up with the 26th Battalion and joined the unit briefly on Gallipoli before the evacuation.

He survived right through 1916 before he was wounded in March 1917 by shrapnel, (a gunshot wound under his right eye). He rejoined his unit in June 1917 and was given English leave a few months later. His file is littered with various minor misdeameanors, not unsual in Australians when they were out of the line. 

When he rejoined his battalion in September 1917 he was promoted to Lance Corporal. He was recommended for a Military Medal when at Broodseinde Ridge on the 4 October 1917, he singlehandedly attacked a German strong point and bayoneted the four enemy occupants. No award was confirmed but the recommendation survives. He was promoted to Sergeant during August 1918. 

He fell ill in France on 17 September 1918 with probably the Spanish flu, and died two weeks later in hospital with pneumonia.

His step mother had to send in a lot of correspondence explaining her position and justifying receiving his war gratuity, his effects and his medals. They are heart rending to read. It emerged after the war that he may have had a sister, as she wrote a long letter in support of the stepmother after the war.