Roy Kintore HURCOMBE MC & Bar, MID

HURCOMBE, Roy Kintore

Service Numbers: 52, S212006
Enlisted: 19 August 1914, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: 4th Garrison Battalion
Born: South Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia, 8 February 1889
Home Town: Mile End, City of West Torrens, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Storeman
Died: Circumstances of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Cremation
Memorials:
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Peacetime

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia

World War 1 Service

21 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 52, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Saldanha, Adelaide
21 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 52, 10th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Major, 10th Infantry Battalion

World War 2 Service

2 Oct 1939: Involvement Major, SN S212006, 4th Garrison Battalion, Homeland Defence - Militia and non deployed forces
2 Oct 1939: Involvement Major, SN S212006
2 Oct 1939: Enlisted Adelaide, SA
6 Dec 1943: Discharged

World War 1 Service

Date unknown: Involvement 10th Infantry Battalion, Pozières

MID Recommendation - 29th July 1916

Capt Hurcombe who was knocked down by a shell & stunned continued at his post & behaved throughout the whole engagement 23/25 July with the utmost coolness & bravery.

Bar to Military Cross Citation - 7th November 1918

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an attack. He led his company splendidly, and with great dash gained his objective, after which he personally led an attack on a machine gun nest and accounted for many of the enemy. Later he captured an officer and two men. He set a very fine example to all under his command.

Military Cross Citation - 19th November 1917

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. His company came under a heavy barrage when assembled for the attack. By his determination, cheerfulness, and disregard of danger he reorganised the company and led it successfully to the final objective and consolidated the captured position. His ability and untiring energy contributed largely to the success of the operations.

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Biography

Born 8 February 1889 at South Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia.

Son of Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick William Hurcombe MID; VD, who was originally 2nd in Command of the 10th Battalion and subsequently first Commanding Officer of the 50th Battalion.

From early youth he possessed an adventurous spirit, his chief ambition being to see as much of the world as possible.  He successfully accomplished his desire by residing one and a half years in England, one year in South Africa, and four and a half years in the United States of America, besides visiting many other foreign parts. 

He was educated at various public schools, which he attended during the course of his travels, but chiefly graduated in the bigger school of cosmopolis.

In 1914 he returned to South Australia from America, and at the outbreak of the Great War was employed as a Storeman at Port Adelaide. 

He resided with his parents at Mile End, and prior to joining the AIF had not served with any Australian Military Force unit.

On 19 August 1914 he enlisted as a Private in the 10th Battalion at Morphettville, his regimental number being “52”, and was subsequently drafted as a Driver to the Transport Section of the Battalion.

Before embarking on HMAT A12 Saldanha with portion of the Battalion Transport Section he had attained the rank of Lance-Corporal, and before reaching Alexandria had been promoted to the rank of Corporal.

He accompanied the 10th Battalion Transport Section to the Dardanelles on the Nizem, and when various troop transfers were being made in Mudros Harbour, Lemnos, with 2nd Lieutenant T O Smyth was transferred to the Ionian, whilst the balance of the Transport Section was transferred to the Malwa.

Whilst the main body of the Battalion participated in the historic landing on 25 April 1915, the Battalion Transport Section unwillingly and discontentedly stood by daily awaiting instructions to land.  Whilst waiting for orders which never came the troopship on which he was stationed made one voyage to Alexandria with sounded, and trips to Gaba Tepe and Cape Helles.

On 12 May 1915, shortly after Lieutenant Transport Officer Smyth was killed, he was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, and was appointed Transport Officer of the Battalion.  He subsequently received unwelcome orders that his section was no to land on the Peninsula, but return to Egypt.

On 30 May 1915, he left Lemnos with the Battalion transport, arriving at Alexandria on 6 June 1915, and then proceeded to Mex, where the Transport Section encamped for several months; but subsequently removed to Maadi near Cairo.

On 14 November 1915, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and early in 1916 at Tel-El-Kebir the Transport rejoined the main body of the Battalion.

On 25 January 1916 at Serapeum he was transferred to the Battalion as a Platoon Commander and posted to B Company, whilst Lieutenant M J Coffey was appointed Transport Officer.  He accompanied the Battalion to France on the Saxonia, and in April 1916 proceeded to Wisques, near St Omer, where he attended the Corps School for six weeks. 

He returned to the Battalion, and on 25 May 1916 was promoted to the rank of Captain, shortly before the Battalion went into the line at Fleurbaix.  At the attack on Pozieres he was 2nd in Command of B Company, and upon the death of Captain C W Hooper on 25 July 1916 assumed Command of that company.

On 14 September 1916 whilst the Battalion was at Chateau Belge, he proceeded on his first furlough, and rejoined the 10th whilst it was in the line at the famous “Hill 60”, at Ypres.  He remained with his company until 12 November 1916, when at Bernafay Wood, following the Gueudecourt action, he evacuated sick, and proceeded to England, where he was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital at Wandsworth.

He was Mentioned In Despatches (MID), vide London Gazette on 2 January 1917.

He subsequently returned to France and rejoined the Battalion a few days before it proceeded into the line at Louverval on 7 April 1917.  He then retained Command of B Company until the two special raiding companies were formed.  He was then appointed Officer Commanding X Company, which he led in the Polygon Wood operation on 19-22 September 1917 and distinguished himself by reorganizing and leading it to the final objective, for which he was awarded the Military Cross (MC), which was promulgated in the London Gazette on 16 November 1917, and the details on 19 March 1918.

He was seconded for duty with the 3rd Training Battalion on 29 September 1917 and shortly after the Polygon Wood action proceeded to England, where he was attached to the 3rd Training Battalion under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel R B Jacob, and when same was disbanded and the 2nd Training Battalion formed at Durrington, he was transferred to same, and appointed Training Adjutant, which position he retained until relived by Captain W F J McCann. 

He subsequently returned to France and rejoined the Battalion in the line in front of Merris at the end of May 1918 and resumed command of B Company which led in the Mont de Merris operation on 30 May 1918.  During the preparations proceeding the capture of Merris on 29-30 July 1918 he acted as Assistant Adjutant of the Battalion, and the night that Merris was taken his company co-operated with A Company, when less than a dozen casualties were sustained.

For his splendid work in this operation he was awarded a Bar to his MC, which was promulgated in the London Gazette on 7 November 1918.

He subsequently received a letter from Headquarters, AIF, BEF, France:

“Dear Hurcombe – This is just a line to send you my heartiest congratulations on the award to you of a Bar to the Military Cross, which you have fully deserved for your excellent work in command of one of the attacking companies in our operations at Merris on 29 July.  Although you came under heavy fire immediately prior to the attack, you succeeded in reorganizing your company, which you led with great dash and courage.  After gaining your objective, you personally led an attack on an enemy machine-gun nest, and in the hand-to-hand fighting which ensued accounted for several Germans.  Later you surprised and captured a German Officer and two men.  Thank you very much for your soldierly conduct, and with good wishes.  Yours sincerely, W R Birdwood.  24 September 1918.  PS: I hope you have good news of your father, to whom please give my very kindest regards.”

He was promoted to the rank of temporary Major on 23 September 1918 and before finally leaving the Battalion at Brucamps on 30 September 1918 he temporarily Commanded the 10th for over a week during the absence of Lieutenant-Colonel M Wilder-Neligan CMG, DSO, DCM and Major W F J McCann DSO, MC and Bar.

Due for 1914 Anzac leave he proceeded to England, where at Southampton, he embarked on the Olympic and travelled to New York, thence overland to San Francisco and at that port embarked on the Sonoma for Sydney, arriving back in Adelaide in November 1918.

His services with the AIF terminating on 18 January 1919.

After five months in Adelaide, he proceeded to the United States of America and recommenced his pre-war life of general adventure, in which he travelled extensively between the Canadian and Mexican borders.

After an absence from Australia of six and a half years, he returned to Adelaide in 1927 and accepted a position in the production department office of General Motors Ltd.  He retained this occupation for two years, but in 1929 was appointed Labour Superintendent at Port Adelaide of the Employers of Maritime Labour of SA Inc.

In 1933 he married Jean Mary, daughter of Charles John Conley, there being no children of the union.

During his absence from Australia he was appointed an Honorary Captain in the Australian Military Forces on 25 May 1916, and then listed on the Reserve of Officers with rank of Captain as and from 1 October 1920.

Since the war he had annexed 18 Australian weight-lifting records, and also two world’s championships.

In 1935 he last resided at Sewell Avenue, Rugby, Payneham.

Extract from “The Fighting 10th”, Adelaide, Webb & Son, 1936 by C.B.L. Lock; kindly supplied courtesy of the 10th Bn AIF Association Committee, April 2015. 

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