Harold Glanville (Harry) GEORGE


GEORGE, Harold Glanville

Service Number: 4792
Enlisted: 4 February 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Wilmington, South Australia, 18 October 1896
Home Town: Wilmington, Mount Remarkable, South Australia
Schooling: Wilmington, South Australia
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Killed in Action, Polygon Wood, Belgium , 30 September 1917, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Hooge Crater Cemetery
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

4 Feb 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 4792, Adelaide, South Australia
11 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4792, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 4792, 27th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Adelaide
30 Sep 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 4792, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Polygon Wood

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Biography contributed by N. Campbell

Harold Glanville GEORGE was born 18th October 1896 in WILMINGTON to David and Adelaide  GEORGE. Harold had elder brothers, David and Lewis and three sisters including Mabel and Nelli. Harold was known as Harry to friends and family.

Harry enlisted on 4th February, 1916, aged 19 years & listed his employment as being a Farmer.  He was described as a single man, 5’8“tall, weighed 139 pounds and had a 39” chest. He had brown hair, a fresh complexion and brown eyes.

Harry completed camp training at Mitcham and embarked from Adelaide with the 32nd Battalion reinforcements, Australian Infantry Force,( A.I.F) . He embarked from Adelaide, 11 April 1916; arrived via Colombo, Ceylon at Alexandria on board HMAT 'Hororata' on  9 June 1916 .  He embarked for England on 2 August 1916. On 29th September 1916 Harry marched in to the 2nd Australian Division Base Depot, Etaples, FRANCE. And on 1st October 1916 he was taken on strength, joining the 32nd Bn in the field on 15 October 1916.

On the 19th of July the 32nd Bn had been decimated at Fromelles losing roughly 90 percent of its effective strength and Harry was one of the over 700 men required to replenish its lost strength.

Harry was admitted to 5th Australian Field Ambulance on 21 November 1916 (with mumps which was considered very serious at the time), and transferred through various points, to 5th Australian Division Base Depot, Etaples, before rejoining the 32nd in the field on 31 December 1916.

Harry and the A.I.F. were involved in continuing trench warfare and fought in famous major battles at Gueudecourt in 1916, Lagnicourt in April 1917, Bullecourt in April and May 1917 (Two assaults during the Battle of Arras), Ypres, and Menin Road in Belgium.

Harry was sent on 10 days well deserved leave to England on 10 September 1917; He rejoined the battalion from leave on 21 September 1917. And the 32nd advanced to Polygon Wood.

On 26th September 1917, in spite of a German attack south of Polygon Wood, (which occurred just as the Australians attacked), the battle of Polygon Wood unfolded as planned. With the British on either flank, the Australians advanced a kilometre, clearing Polygon Wood by taking two lines of German trenches. The holding of these trenches was vital.

The 32nd was still holding those trenches on the 30th September 1917, against bitter counter attacks which were all fought off. Heavy bombing and intense sniping was reported throughout the line in the Battalion record this day as the 32nd was replaced and moved back behind the lines. It was reported 13 O/Rs (“other ranks”) were killed and 30 O/Rs wounded in action on this day.   Harry GEORGE was one of the 13 killed.    After the war the veterans of the 5th Division chose Polygon wood as the site of the Division’s memorial.

Harold GEORGE is buried in the nearby HOOGE CRATER Cemetery. The GEORGE family and local community were devastated. David, (Harrys brother), later received Harrys British War Medal, Victory Medal, Memorial Scroll and Plaque along with a copy of the ‘Kings Message’.

Harold is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial on the Roll of Honour and is also commemorated on the Honour Roll at The WILMINGTON Soldiers Memorial Hall.