Harold John Francis BOTTRILL MM

Badge Number: S27613, Sub Branch: State
S27613

BOTTRILL, Harold John Francis

Service Number: 2337
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 11th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Payneham, South Australia, August 1893
Home Town: Kalgoorlie, Kalgoorlie/Boulder, Western Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Labourer
Died: 7 April 1973, cause of death not yet discovered, place of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

23 Jun 1915: Involvement Private, SN 2337, 10th Infantry Battalion
23 Jun 1915: Embarked Private, SN 2337, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Kanowna, Adelaide
11 Nov 1918: Involvement Private, SN 2337, 11th Field Artillery Brigade
Date unknown: Honoured Military Medal

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Biography

Background

He was born in August, 1893 but he faked his age to be one year older than what he really was to join the army. He had brown skin, dark brown hair and blue eyes. He was a Methodist. He was born in Payneham, South Australia but he moved to Piccadilly Street, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia with his mother, Mrs Harriet Bottrill and brother, Clarence Bottrill. After that, they moved to Ida Street and lived there before joining the army. He was single and his mother was his next of kin. His brother also signed up for the army and joined the 51st battalion. Harold’s occupation before joining the army was a labourer, which was helpful for when he was trying to join the army, as he was very fit and was suitable for working outdoors and the officials wanted people like him.

Army Life

On the 30th of March 1915, Harold John Francis Bottrill enlisted to join the Australian Army and he joined it the very next day as a private. He trained with the army until the 23rd of June. On that day, he left Australia with the army on the HMAT A61 Kanowna. He joined the 10th Battalion on the 17th of September and went to Gallipoli to fight but was taken away from the Gallipoli reinforcements the next day. He boarded the Seang Bee, a ship, to Alexandria in Egypt. He stayed and trained there and was transferred to the 50th Battalion and was appointed to the 4th division Field Artillery on the 26th of February 1916. The field artillery were mostly for support for the infantry. Most of the 50th Battalion was made out of newly appointed recruits from Australia and from the 11th Battalion.

After training more with his new battalion, he moved to Marseilles in Northern France on the 11th of June 1916 with his Battalion to fight at Mouquet Farm where his Battalion suffered heavily. However, he wasn’t hurt in the battle and continued to fight with his Battalion. In late July, there were constant attacks from the Germans but Harold didn’t get injured. On the 25th of January, 1917 he transferred from the 24th Field Artillery Brigade to the 11th Field Artillery Brigade. In early 1917, his battalion followed the Germans and continued to attack at the Hindenurg Line and attacked Noreuil on the 2nd of April. After that, the battalion went to Ypres in Belgium and fought in the Battle of Messines between the 7th and 12th of June. They also participated in the battle of Polygon Wood on the 26th of September. On the 1st of December, 1917 Harold was appointed to be a fitter – a person who loads around the battle field. This job was potentially dangerous, as they could have been shot while loading the guns.

On the 16th of February, 1918 he went on leave to UK where he stayed at for about 3 weeks to return to the battle on the 9th of March 1918. At this time, the German Army was about to launch a major offensive on the Western Front. The 4th division defended the positions south of the River Ancre in France. At Dernancourt on the 5th of April, the 50th Battalion helped defend the largest German attack on Australian soldiers during the war. There, he was awarded the Military Medal for consistent work in loading the guns under the pressure and gunfire of the Germans. This shows that Harold was a brave person, and he was willing to sacrifice for others. He survived this attack and carried on as a fitter for his last battle. On the 18th of September, his Battalion launched its last major attack on Hindenburg and Harold was wounded in action on the 27th of September. The Germans had heavy defences but the Australians sent 8 tanks, as well as a few dummy ones towards the German line and captured 4,300 prisoners. However, there were around 1,000 dead or wounded soldiers, and 1 of these may have been Harold. On the 6th of October, he was moved to a hospital in the UK where he was discharged and sent back to Australia.

 

Links

 

https://www.awm.gov.au/unit/U51490/ - for the 50th battalion

 

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