Arthur Phillip HARRIS

Badge Number: 1179, Sub Branch: MITCHAM

HARRIS, Arthur Phillip

Service Number: 5011
Enlisted: 7 March 1916, Burra South Australia Australia
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Burra, South Australia, 15 April 1893
Home Town: Burra, Goyder, South Australia
Schooling: Burra Public School
Occupation: Labourer
Died: Natural Causes, Mitcham, South Australia, 28 October 1987, aged 94 years
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Centennial Park Cemetery Pasadena SA see link in sidebar
Memorials: Burra HB1 District WW 1*
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World War 1 Service

7 Mar 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Burra South Australia Australia
24 Jun 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, HMAT "Bulla"
20 Jun 1919: Discharged AIF WW1
Date unknown: Involvement 27th Infantry Battalion, Pozières
Date unknown: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 5011, 27th Infantry Battalion

Help us honour Arthur Phillip Harris's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.


Arthur Phillip Harris was born in Burra in 1893 the son of Mr Francis Harris of Kooringa. His mother’s name is not recorded in his service record.  

We are indebted to Arthur because he and his family have left a wonderful trove of photographs that now feature on this site as a testament to his service and life's legacy, from school boy his enlistment and passage to Europe and service on the Western Front.

Arthur grew up and went to school at Burra and along the way was variously a member of the school cadets (see photograph in the Gallery) and like many people at the time, an amateur musician.  The school cadet photograph is a poignant reminder of the cost paid by many communities because numbers of the boys in that photo gave their lives in the service of the nation just a few years later.

When war broke out it wasn't long before Arthur was feeling some pressure to enlist.

His brother, 1347 Lance Corporal Hartley Pascoe HARRIS, had enlisted in the 10th Battalion.  Meanwhile Arthur enlisted on the 7th March 1916 and was assigned to the 13th Reinforcements of the 27th Battalion.  After basic training he embarked on the HMAT Bulla on the 24th June 1916.

During his service Arthur served as a bandsman with the Battalion Band.  In an Infantry Battalion bandsmen generally worked as stretcher bearers when in action.  It was an extremely dangerous job as they were often exposed to enemy small arms and artillery fire while moving about the battlefield either searching for or retrieving casualties.   Their job was to get them to the Battalion's Regimental Aid Post, where the Battalion Medical Officer (a doctor generally of the rank of Captain) and his team would assess the casualty, potentially for further evacuation through the Medical evacuation chain.  

Unlike many brothers Arthur and Hartley were both destined to survive.  As a relatively early enlistee, Hartley returned to Australia on the 30 December 1918.   Arthur saw the war to its conclusion and joined the queue awaiting sea transport well into 1919, before returning home on the HMAT Ascanius 21/3/19.  He was discharged medically unfit 20 June 1919.

RSL records indicate that he joined the RSL on the 13th May 1919 and was issued badge No 1179.

His address at the time of his death on the 28 October 1987 was 30 SUSSEX TCE WESTBOURNE PARK.  He was 94 years old.  His wife Bessie and he were Grand Parents to 7 and Great Grand Parents of 3.


British War Medal

Victory Medal


Steve Larkins Dec 2013 Updated May 2019


Biography contributed by Millie Johnson

[1]Arthur Phillips Harris was one of thousands who was a soldier in World War 1. He was born in Burra South Australia on the 15th of April 1893. Harris was lucky enough to live a healthy life while being a solider in the war because he lived until 94 years of age, he died from natural causes in Mitcham, South Australia.

[2]Arthur had a father named Francis Harris and a brother Lance Corporal Hartley Pascoe Harris and they both served in the war. Arthur Phillips Harris went to Burra Public school. Burra is where his family grew up and made all their memories.

On the 25th of April 1915, the 10th Battalion started and Arthur’s brother enlisted to be in it. [3] Hartley Harris left for the 10th Battalion straight after the enlistment and returned back to Australia alive on the 30th of December 1918. 

With Arthur’s brother gone he felt the need that he needed to help to so on the 7th of March 1916 he enlisted and was sent to be in the 13th Reinforcements of the 27th Battalion. He went through instance training to be fit and healthy and once that was completed he was brought onto the HMAT Bulla on the 24th of June 1916. Arthur Harris’s last rank was Corporal and his last unit was the 27th Infantry Battalion.

[1] RSL Virtual War Memorial 2015, accessed 15 June 2017, <>.

[2] Arthur Phillips Harris 2015, accessed 14 June 2017, <>.

[3] 10th Battalion 2017, accessed 16 June 2017,<>.


Biography contributed by Christopher Kalionis

Arthur Phillips Harris was born on the 15th of April 1893 in Burra, South Australia.[1] His father, Francis Harris of Kooringa, sent Arthur Phillips and his brother, Hartly Pascoe Harris to school at Burra Public School. Harris was a part of the Burra Public School Cadets, and an amateur musician. When he finished schooling, Harris worked as a labourer, until war broke out. Harris then felt the obligation to fight for his country.

 On the 7th of March 1916 at the age of 23, Arthur Phillips Harris enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Since Harris had minimal training, his chance at surviving was slim.[2] Harris was assigned to the 13th Reinforcement of the 27th Infantry Battalion and had an insignificant amount of training before heading off to war.  His brother Hartly Pascoe Harris also joined The Australian Imperial Force and served in the 10th Infantry Battalion. Both brothers were determined to survive alongside each other. The 27th Infantry Battalion had two major battles.[3] The first battle lasted from the 5th of July to the 28th of August at Pozieres. In this battle, the 27th Battalion was in the front line trenches. The second major attack occurred on the 20th of September 1917. This attack forced the Battalion participating in the first wave of The Battle of Menin Road. The 27th Battalion also took part in the infamous Battle of Gallipoli but suffered very few casualties.

Harris kept in contact with his family while participating in the imperial force. This is evident, as he had sent man y letters to his family, wishing them a Merry Christmas in the 27th Infantry Battalion postcard.

Arthur Phillip Harris officially joined the Returned and Service League on the 13th of March 1919 and returned home on the 21st of March 1919. Harris received the medals: ‘Victory Medal and ‘British War Medal’. He was eventually discharged after he suffered from [4]trench fever disease on the 20th of June 1919.

Harris fell in love with his wife Bessie and eventually became grandparents to seven and great-grandparents to three. Harris sadly passed away due to natural causes on the 28th of October 1987 in Resthaven (Aged Care Facility) at the age of 94.

Christopher Kalionis 2017

[1] RSL Virtual War Memorial | Arthur Phillips HARRIS. 2017. RSL Virtual War Memorial | Arthur Phillips HARRIS. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 June 2017].

[2] Search | The Australian War Memorial. 2017. Search | The Australian War Memorial. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 June 2017].

[3] 27th Australian Infantry Battalion | The Australian War Memorial. 2017. 27th Australian Infantry Battalion | The Australian War Memorial. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 June 2017].

[4] View digital copy . 2017. View digital copy . [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 19 June 2017].