Henry (Harry) WHITTY


Service Numbers: 2170, 2170A
Enlisted: 1 May 1916, Wangaratta, Victoria
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 37th Infantry Battalion
Born: Wangaratta, Victoria, 2 April 1894
Home Town: Whitfield, Wangaratta, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer
Died: Natural causes, Whitfield, Victoria, 28 November 1972, aged 78 years
Cemetery: Whitefield Cemetery King Valley, Victoria
Memorials: Meadow Creek Pictorial HB, Oxley War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

1 May 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2170, Wangaratta, Victoria
25 Sep 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 2170, 37th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
25 Sep 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 2170, 37th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Shropshire, Melbourne
4 Oct 1917: Wounded Private, SN 2170, 37th Infantry Battalion, Broodseinde Ridge, GSW (arm)
14 Aug 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 2170A, 37th Infantry Battalion

Over the hill

Harry Whitty was a favourite nephew of my great grandmother Eleanor (Ellen) Evans (see letters) and a friend of my great uncle Capt Gerald Evans MC (see link). Although I never knew him well personally, I have it on repute that he lead a relatively quite and unassuming life after the war. This is perhaps not surprising given the experiences endured in France. His farm was on the way into Whitfield so I would have passed it many times. He married June Kneebone and had four children including Shirley Hennessy, Keta Small and John Whitty, some of whom still live in the district. In recent times, this memorial has facilitated contact between myself and his granddaughter Helen Hennessy-Davidson.


The valiant know

In what many literary critics consider to be Australia’s rival to Erich Maria Lemarque’s “All quite on the Western Front”, Frederic Manning paraphrased William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act II, Scene II for the title of his book (see below), “The middle parts of fortune (1929).” In many ways, the book and its title summarise the significant contribution made by privates such as Harry Whitty and all the rest who fought valiantly but were never singled out for distinction. The satisfactory completion of WWI from the Allies perspective would not have been possible without their roles both during the war and their enduring of the consequences of that contribution after the war was finished.

William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”, (Act II, Scene II).
Hamlet: My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do you both? Rosencrantz: As the indifferent children of the earth. Guildenstern: Happy, in that we are not overhappy. On Fortune’s cap we are not the very button. Hamlet: Nor the soles of her shoes? Rosencrantz: Neither, my lord. Hamlet: Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favors? Guildenstern: Faith, her privates we. Hamlet: In the secret parts of Fortune? Oh, most true. She is a strumpet. What news? Rosencrantz: None, my lord, but that the world’s grown honest. Hamlet: Then is doomsday near?…..

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