Harry DOWNES MC, MM

Badge Number: MS71
MS71

DOWNES, Harry

Service Number: 1612
Enlisted: 31 August 1915, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 48th Infantry Battalion
Born: Eaglehawk, Victoria, 14 May 1892
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Suicide, Adelaide, South Australia, 11 November 1931, aged 39 years
Cemetery: AIF Cemetery, West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

31 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 1612, Adelaide, South Australia
11 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 1612, 48th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
11 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 1612, 48th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Adelaide
11 Apr 1917: Honoured Military Medal, Bullecourt (First), Recommendation: - 'At BULLECOURT on 11th April 1917 for constant good work and devotion to duty during the operations HINDENBURG LINE. By his own brave example he kept his men alert and in good spirits after all his Company Officers were wounded. He organised and assisted in the defence of the trench and when the retirement was ordered he moved back his men in good order.'
18 Sep 1918: Honoured Military Cross, Breaching the Hindenburg Line - Cambrai / St Quentin Canal, Recommendation for Military Cross Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 109 Date: 15 September 1919
17 Jan 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 48th Infantry Battalion

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

Biography contributed by Jack Coyne

Harry DOWNES

Military Medal & Military Cross

 'At BULLECOURT on 11th April 1917 for constant good work and devotion to duty during the operations HINDENBURG LINE. By his own brave example he kept his men alert and in good spirits after all his Company Officers were wounded. He organised and assisted in the defence of the trench and when the retirement was ordered he moved back his men in good order.'

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 169

Date: 4 October 1917

 

Recommendation for Military Cross

Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 109

Date: 15 September 1919

 

The Bendigonian reported in October 1917: -

‘Lieut. Harry Downes, of Brown Hill, W.A., and a native of Eaglehawk, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery on the battlefield. He was promoted to the position of lieutenant, and received a card of congratulation from Major-General Holmes (since killed). He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. James Downes of Brown Hill, nephew of Mr. Robert Taylor, Junortoun, and Mr. William Taylor, of Melbourne, former residents of Eaglehawk’.[1]

An Adelaide paper provided more details on Harry’s progress in July 1917:- ‘Lieutenant Harry Downs, M.M, who left Adelaide last year as sergeant in the 2nd-Reinforcements of the 48th Battalion, was awarded his commission on the field of battle for bravery. At a later date he gained the Military Medal. He is a native of Victoria, but spent most of his life in Kalgoorlie. He

joined the staff of Mr. W. H. Willis, sharebroker of Western Australia, and subsequently was transferred to his Adelaide office, and was acting as authorised clerk on the 'Stock Exchange of Adelaide when-the enlisted in September,

1915’.[2]

Harry Downes became a successful stockbroker in Adelaide, and was a leading light in the Citizens Force following the war.Sadly we read in the West Australian newspaper that he took his life on Remembrance Day 1931.

 BROKER DEAD IN OFFICE. ADELAIDE, Nov. 11.—

‘Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Downes (39), was found dead in his office in Adelaide to-day, with a bullet- wound in his head. He was a prominent sharebroker and was in charge of the 43rd-48th Battalion’.[3] The Express and Telegraph, Adelaide Fri 6 Jul 1917  Page 3 LIEUTENANT H. DOWNS, M.M.

 

Regimental Number: 1612

Born: Eaglehawk June 1892

Occupation: Clerk

Religion: Church of England

School: East Methodist State School, Eaglehawk

Address: Browns Hill, WA & Adelaide

Embarked: Unknown

Unit Name: 48th Battalion, 2nd reinforcements

Enlisted: September 13, 1915

Embarked: Adelaide on HMAT A60 Aeneas on 11 April 1916

Marital status: Single

Age at embarkation: 23 Next of kin                  Mother, Mrs Mary Hannah Downes, Brown Hill via Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Final Rank: Lieutenant

 

As well as being awarded two bravery medals, Harry Downes was a renowned photographer during WW1. His collection of 104 images taken in Egypt and Europe throughout his period of service are in the Australian War Memorial Collection.



[1] Bendigonian (Bendigo, Vic. : 1914 - 1918)  Thu 4 Oct 1917  Page 4  AWARDED MILITARY MEDAL.
[2] The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA : 1867 - 1922)  Fri 6 Jul 1917  Page 3  LIEUTNANT H.DOWNS, M.M

[3] The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954)  Thu 12 Nov 1931  Page 7  BROKER DEAD IN OFFICE.

 

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