Badge Number: 56367, Sub Branch: Keswick & Richmond

HARPER, George

Service Number: 1136
Enlisted: 23 June 1915, Broadmeadows, Victoria
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Springburn, Scotland, 10 September 1893
Home Town: Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Book-binder
Died: Natural causes, Adelaide, South Australia, 21 June 1970, aged 76 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Tree Plaque: Not yet discovered
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World War 1 Service

23 Jun 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1136, Broadmeadows, Victoria
10 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 1136, 29th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
10 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 1136, 29th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Melbourne
19 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 1136, 29th Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix), GSW (right cheek)
7 Apr 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 29th Infantry Battalion
3 May 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 29th Infantry Battalion, Bullecourt (First)
31 Jul 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 29th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres
6 Sep 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 29th Infantry Battalion
26 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 29th Infantry Battalion, Polygon Wood
26 Sep 1917: Honoured Military Cross, Polygon Wood, "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in an attack. The advance was held up by about sixty of the enemy with four machine guns and some snipers. The position was critical, and he at once assisted in leading a small party to the attack. They captured the position consisting of five concrete shelters, with four machine guns, and put the whole garrison out of action. He took command when his company commander was wounded, and pushed onto the final objective, which he captured after a severe struggle. He set a splendid example to all ranks throughout."
15 Oct 1917: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 29th Infantry Battalion, Third Ypres, 2nd occasion - GSW (left elbow)
3 May 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 29th Infantry Battalion, "Peaceful Penetration - Low-Cost, High-Gain Tactics on the Western Front", 3rd occasion - GSW (left thigh)
12 Oct 1918: Transferred AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 32nd Infantry Battalion, The 29th Infantry battalion was disbanded and amalgamated with the 32nd Battalion due to mounting casualties at 11.00am on 12th October 1918, four weeks prior to armistice day on 11th November 1918.
8 Nov 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN 1136, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Returned to Australia per H.T. 'Durham'

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Biography contributed by John Lakey

  • Citation for Gallantry - Battle of Polygon Wood

Lieutenant George HARPER 29th Battalion 'D' Company A.I.F. Shortly after passing the first objective at POLYGON WOOD on 26th September, 1917, the advance to the second objective was held up by about 60 of the enemy with 4 machine guns and snipers. Our casualties had been heavy and the position was critical, but Lieut. HARPER realising the situation, assisted Capt. W.H. THOMSON to organise a party of 15 with which he assisted the latter Officer to lead against the enemy in a very gallant attack. When Captain THOMSON was wounded Lieut. HARPER rendered him invaluable service in the continuation of the attack, which resulted in the capture of a series of defended shellholes, a nest of 5 concrete shelters and 4 machine guns, while the whole of the enemy garrison of 60 were either killed or wounded. Lieut. HARPER then took over the command from Captain THOMSON and pushed on to the final objective, where after a severe struggle he engaged to secure possession of several shellholes in which he established his party. Being one of the only two Company Officers left with the Battalion at this stage he worked ably and fearlessly to ensure the consolidation of the ground won, and by his gallantry and cheeriness set an excellent example to the men, with whom his name became a bye-word. Recommendation: Military Cross [MC] Lieut. Colonel Muir Purser C.O. 29th Battalion