Charles Melville HARRY

HARRY, Charles Melville

Service Number: 587
Enlisted: 27 February 1915
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Hope Valley, South Australia, Australia , 29 April 1897
Home Town: Norwood (SA), South Australia
Schooling: Norwood High School
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Killed in Action, Belgium, 8 January 1918, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Prowse Point Cemetery
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Norwood Primary School Honour Board, Payneham Sydenham Road Methodist Church Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

27 Feb 1915: Enlisted Australian Army (Post WW2), Private, 587, 27th Infantry Battalion
31 May 1915: Involvement Private, 587, 27th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Geelong embarkation_ship_number: A2 public_note: ''
31 May 1915: Embarked Private, 587, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
8 Jan 1918: Involvement Corporal, 587, 27th Infantry Battalion, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 587 awm_unit: 27 Battalion awm_rank: Corporal awm_died_date: 1918-01-08

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Biography contributed by Saint Ignatius' College

Charles Melville Harry was born in Hope Valley in South Australia  and grew up in Norwood in South Australia. Charles’ father had the initials of W H H, but no other information could be found about his parents. Before he signed up in February 1915 in Keswick, Adelaide, Charles worked as a clerk (someone who conducts general office tasks). He didn’t have any previous military experience before he enlisted.


Charles was signed up to the 27th battalion, which was an infantry battalion who was part of the 7th brigade. The 7th brigade was a small part of the Australian 2nd Division.

The battalion embarked to train in Egypt in June 1915. After two months there, the battalion headed to Gallipoli on the 12th of September. They were asked to back up previous ANZACS, but it was relatively quiet and they departed in December of 1915 with little casualties. Gallipoli was also the place Charles was appointed as Lance Corporal. The battalion had extensive training in Egypt, then headed to France in March.


Unfortunately, Charles became sick in June before he got to fight in France and was diagnosed with Synovitis, which was the inflammation of a joint surrounded by thick membrane – located in his left knee. A day later, Charles was moved to the base hospital. A couple of days later, he was taken by the HS Jan Breydel (which was a hospital ship used for transporting injured and sick soldiers) to England where he was put into hospital for recovery. Charles was taken out of hospital after two months, but remained in England for a while where he was classified as class ‘D2’ in August which was used medically by the British hospitals in World War 1. The D class was the lowest out of four, and it meant that the soldier in question was unfit but could be fit within six months. In November to mid-1917, Charles marched a lot through England, like to a small village called Perham Downs, and in from Weymouth etc. as a sort of pre-training for return to war, and was appointed Corporal there. Charles then was sent back to France where he proceeded to join his unit and re-joined his battalion. He was reverted back to Lance Corporal, but again was promoted to Corporal by Corporal Pickett in late 1917.


Sadly, on the night of the 8th of January 1918, three men (including Charles himself) went on a patrol to the right of their base into No Man’s Land. After a small period, they decided to return and the enemy must have spotted them as it was reported that a projectile was thrown from the enemy and the men were killed in an explosion. This brought a sad finale to Charles’ life, as the war was to end less than a year later.


Unfortunately no information about life after the war for Charles’ family was found, except that his father was next of kin and that Charles’ cemetery location was in the Prowse Point Military Cemetery in Belgium.


Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Charles Melville HARRY was born in Hope Valley, South Australia on 29th April, 1897

His parents were William Henry HARRY & Priscilla GOODES