Harry Angus Albert William MUDGE

MUDGE, Harry Angus Albert William

Service Number: 5120
Enlisted: 17 April 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Mclaren Vale, South Australia, 20 December 1887
Home Town: McLaren Vale, Onkaparinga, South Australia
Schooling: Public School McLaren Vale
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Killed in Action, France, 3 December 1916, aged 28 years
Cemetery: Bancourt British Cemetery
V C 14,
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, McLaren Vale Memorial Wall, McLaren Vale Roll of Honour, Minlaton War Memorial WW1, Stansbury Dalrymple District Roll of Honor, Stansbury Darymple District WW1 Pictorial Roll of Honour, Stansbury Memorial Institute Roll of Honour, Stansbury War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

17 Apr 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia
24 Jun 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 5120, 27th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Bulla embarkation_ship_number: A45 public_note: ''
24 Jun 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 5120, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Bulla, Adelaide

Harry Angas Albert William Mudge

Birth Certificate District of Willunga Certificate 836, HARRY ANGAS ALBERT WILLIAM MUDGE born 1st February 1888 at McLaren Vale. Registered by Mother (Ann Mudge). George Field - registrar.

Harry was baptized at St. Philip & St. James Church Noarlunga on 22nd January 1888 by Rev. E.K. Miller.

Prior to Harry enlisting and leaving for France in WWI he became engaged to Annie K. Cook from Myrtle Grove, Minlaton, YP where he had been living and working as a labourer.

Harry Angas Albert William Mudge enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 17th April 1916, no. 5120 in the 2nd Depot Battalion AIF. His records state that he was a natural born British Subject, born near the town of McLaren Vale SA and that his trade was Labourer and that he had served in the Minlaton Rifle Club for 1 year. Question 13 of the enlistment form asks - 'Have you ever been rejected as unfit for His Majesty's Service? If so, on what grounds?' The answer was Yes, AIF Weak back and Flat Footed. One wonders why the AIF now chose to ignore that fact and accepts his enlistment? If only his application had been rejected, Harry would most probably lived a longer and happier life.

Private Harry Mudge was 28 years and three months old when he enlisted, 5 feet 11 and 1/4 inches tall, weight 151 lb., Chest measurement 35 - 38 inches, complexion - fresh, eyes - blue, hair - brown.
Harry embarked at Melbourne aboard the "Barambah" on the 27th of June, 1916.
On 29th of September 1916 he was proceeding overseas to France.
On the 15th October, 1916 he was 'taken on strength' to the 32nd Battalion from the 2nd Australian Division Base Depot, being transferred from the 27th Battn to the 32nd Battn on 13.10.1916.

By the time the company reached the Somme, the autumn rains had set in and the whole battlefield had become a vast slough of mud. This was inevitable in these great ‘battles of material’ in which the massed artillery in breaking the enemy also ploughed up the ground over which its own infantry must pass. The broken ground was easily traversed in dry weather, but in wet it became a bog. In the pressure of the offensive the staff had had no time or manpower to prepare against these conditions; both the trenches and the tracks leading to them were in many parts almost impassable. Next, the roads up which timber and road metal should be arriving to repair this situation gave way under the vast traffic of heavy lorries with munitions for the offensive. On the paths across the cratered fields troops sank at every step, and the strain of pulling out each foot from the suction of the mud caused a journey of six miles to occupy between nine and twelve hours. Battalions came through dazed with exhaustion. In the morass of the trenches first-rate care and discipline were required to avoid losing toes or feet through frost-bite. Putties wrapped round the shins dangerously restricted the circulation. It took five or six relays of stretcher-bearers, each team six or eight strong, many hours to get a wounded man from front line to the ambulance, a few miles back. In these conditions – the worst known to the First AIF – two attempts were made to carry forward the line. On November 5th two attacks were launched; one near Gueudecourt during the small hours, in the rain which made the attempt a nightmare, the other near Flers in mid-morning. In the first attack the troops for the assault reached their front line half-exhausted after a terrible journey over the mud, some of them late. The 1st Battalion was seen and shelled and, being therefore unable to assemble in no-man’s-land, the men of its leading waves had to bridge with their bodies the top of the trench while the supports crawled in to assemble beneath them. In the drizzle the troops advanced in good order, but, slithering over shellholes, they could not nearly keep pace with the creeping barrage.
In both operations portion of the assaulting forces entered the enemy trenches, and held parts of them for some hours until the impossibility of keeping the partial gains was realized. The effort near Flers was repeated on November 14th when portion of the objective was seized and held for two days. At the same time, miles away on the high ground near Theipval, Gough’s army made a vigorous and largely successful attack at Beaumont Hamel. This confirmed Haig’s belief in Gough’s leadership; and the ease with which Germans surrendered showed that their morale had undoubtedly been effected by the strain of the Somme Battle.
But the clogging of attack after attack in the mud of the Somme had now convinced Haig that all his troops could do for the remainder of the winter was, as far as possible, to keep up this strain on the Germans by means of small attacks and raids.
So the First Somme Battle ended, and Harry would have undoubtedly longed for the calm and safety of home. The Germans had been hard tried, but not broken. The armies had taken each other’s measure – the British, if not yet fully trained, were at least a growing danger to their opponents and both sides now knew it. But the battle was also the hardest and bloodiest fought by the British in that war, and its cost to them and the French was almost certainly greater than to the Germans. The British loss of about 415,000 included the flower of the British youth in the New Army. Yet the Allies could afford loss better than their opponents; and, in the terrible determination with which Haig wore his enemy down, the Germans really faced the beginning of the end.
On 16th November 1916 a conference of the Allies at Chantilly in France decided to strike at the enemy from all directions – east, west, south and south-east – in the coming spring. So far as the Western Front was concerned Joffre and Haig could think of nothing better than to take up the Somme offensive, as soon as possible, at the point where it had been left off.
During the winter, both Allies and Germans on the Somme found their time and powers fully occupied in battling against mud, rain and frost-bite. Little by little, railways, motors and wagons brought up the stone and timber could be brought to repair the next mile of road; over that again came material to repair the next mile – and finally tracks and material reached the trenches and the dreaded conditions of that front were slowly improved. Perhaps for Australians the experience was really no harsher than for their mates of the splendid 15th Scottish Division at Le Sars on their left or for the Guards Division at Le Transloy on their right.. Finally thousands of duckboards were laid on long tracks across the morass and there began to arrive at the trenches duckboards for dry standing, frames, dugout timbers, hot food containers, leather waistcoats, thigh boots, worsted gloves “Tommy Cookers”, dry socks. In the nearer camps, largely through the ceaseless care of General White, came better huts, comfort stalls, even cinema material.

On December 2nd 1916 Harry was killed in action in France and according to Australian Archive Records was buried 322 yards from Millers Daughter le Transloy Rd., between Le Transloy & Gueudencourt, 2 and 3/4 miles north of Combles. Immediately in front of the village of Gueudecourt ran the southern portion of the line of the I ANZAC Corps during most of the winter on the Somme battlefield. Gueudecourt was incessantly shelled by the Germans, and was therefore entirely avoided, except by a few adventurous spirits – one of which had been Harry. Further notification states that the remains of the late 5120 Pt. H.A.A.W. Mudge 32/Bn were exhumed and reburied in Bancourt British Cemetery Plot 5 row C grave 15 1 and ¼ miles east of Bapaume.

His personal effects obtained from a kit bag held in store – 1 parcel (sealed) contained – 2 pipes in case, Belt, Armlet, Torch (damaged), Purse, Book of Psalms, were returned to his mother Ann on 2nd January, 1919. In a letter to the AIF from his intended Annie Cook she asks particularly for the armlet mentioned ‘is no doubt the wristlett watch I gave him which I would so much like to have, anything that was his while he was away would be so much to me’.

Upon his death Harry Mudge was awarded three war medals, the Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal together with a Memorial Plaque which was collected by a Mrs. W. Sisson on 7.8.1922 and a Memorial Scroll accepted by his father on 25.5.1922. Unfortunately it is not known what has happened to these items over the years

They grow not old
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We shall remember them,

God Bless you Harry.

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Mr. and Mrs. F. Mudge, of McLaren Vale, have received news that their second son, Private Harry A. A. Mudge, was killed in action in France on December 2. Private Mudge left Adelaide seven months ago. In a letter received by his parents after the notification of his death, he stated that he had been mentioned in dispatches for bravery on November 6. He was 27 years of age, was a man of fine physique, and was greatly respected by a large circle of friends." - from the Adelaide Chronicle 20 Jan 1917 (nla.gov.au)