Harold Thomas PAGE

PAGE, Harold Thomas

Service Numbers: 2821, 2821A
Enlisted: 19 August 1915, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 9th Infantry Battalion
Born: Dalby, Queensland, 18 June 1897
Home Town: Coorparoo, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Coorparoo State School & East Brisbane State School
Occupation: Apprentice Tailor
Died: Killed in Action, France, 20 April 1917, aged 19 years
Cemetery: Lebucquiere Communal Cemetery Extension
III C 26, Lebucquiere Communal Cemetery Extension, Lebucquiere, Arras, Nord Pas de Calais, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Brisbane Logan & Albert 9th Battalion Honour Roll, Coorparoo Roll of Honor, Coorparoo Shire Memorial Gates (Greenslopes), Coorparoo State School Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 2821, 25th Infantry Battalion, Brisbane, Queensland
21 Oct 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2821, 25th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '15' embarkation_place: Brisbane embarkation_ship: HMAT Seang Bee embarkation_ship_number: A48 public_note: ''
21 Oct 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 2821, 25th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Bee, Brisbane
20 Apr 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2821A, 9th Infantry Battalion, --- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 2821A awm_unit: 9th Australian Infantry Battalion awm_rank: Private awm_died_date: 1917-04-20

Narrative

Harold Thomas Page #2821 25th/9th Battalion

Harold Page had been born in June 1897 at Dalby. His mother in completing the circular for the Roll of Honour card reported that Harold had attended both East Brisbane and Coorparoo State Schools before being apprenticed as a tailor to G. R. Ryder Ltd. Like most of the young men of his age he had completed some military training with the 9th Battalion Logan and Albert Regiment Citizens Forces prior to enlistment. Harold’s address was given as “Avondale” Fourth Avenue Coorparoo.

Harold was obviously keen to enlist and presented himself at the recruiting depot on 19th August 1915 with a note signed by his mother (but probably written by Harold as the handwriting differs) stating that he was 18 years old (and two months) and that he had his mother’s permission to enlist. Harold was drafted into the 6th reinforcements of the 25th Battalion and sailed for Egypt on 21st October 1915. The embarkation roll indicates the Harold had considered the financial position of his widowed mother as he allotted 80% of his pay to her, leaving him with just one shilling a day.

Harold arrived in Egypt and proceeded to the large Australian Camp at Zeitoun on 27th February 1916. As part of the expansion and reorganisation of the AIF in early 1916, Harold was transferred from the 25th Battalion to the 9th Battalion. Both the 25th and the 9th were exclusively Queensland units so he would not have felt out of place.

Now part of the 1st Division, Harold boarded ship for Marseilles, arriving there in March 1916. After a long train journey and route march across hard French roads, the 9th settled in to be accustomed to the new form of trench warfare in the Armentieres sector. When Haig opened the Somme offensive in July of 1916, the Australian divisions were moved south to go into the line. The first division were first into action (as they had been at Gallipoli as well) in an attack on the village of Pozieres. On 22 July 1916, in one of the first actions in the battle for Pozieres, Harold Page received a gunshot wound to the leg (probably a machine gun bullet as most of the gunshot wounds at Pozieres were).

Harold was evacuated via a Casualty Clearing Station back to the large British Base at Etaples where he spent two months in hospital recovering. As wounds go, the damage to Harold’s leg must not have been too serious; no broken bones, to have recovered in such a short time. Nevertheless his mother received the customary curt telegram: “Regret advise Pte Page wounded. Promptly advise anything further received.”

Harold returned to his unit in September 1916, by which time the 1st Division was resting and being reinforced after the mauling they received at Pozieres. The winter of 1916/17 was the coldest experienced in Northern France in 40 years and Harold was fortunate that he did not succumb to the cold and accompanying disease that caused the Australians in the Somme trenches such discomfort.

In the spring of 1917, just as the ground thawed, the Germans began an orderly withdrawal east to pre-prepared defensive positions on the Hindenburg Line. The Australian divisions pursued them cautiously along the valley of the Somme as on a number of occasions the Germans counter attacked. During one such counter attack on 20th April 1917, Harold Page was killed.

His records indicate that he was buried on the battlefield with a map reference quoted. At war’s end, Harold’s remains were exhumed and he was buried in Lebucquiere Communal Cemetery Extension some five kilometres east of Bapaume. Harold’s mother who continued to live at Fourth Avenue, Coorparoo was granted a war widows pension of two pounds a fortnight.

In 1947, Harold’s brother Mr. J.E.Page, Manager of Kodak in Melbourne wrote to Base Records to ascertain the location of Harold’s grave as he was planning on visiting the continent later that year and wanted to honour his brother. It is hoped Mr Page was able to meet this commitment.

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

Son of Joseph PAGE and Hannah Mary nee O'SULLIVAN of "Avondale", 4th Avenue, Cooparoo, Brisbane, Queensland.

SACRED HEART OF JESUS HAVE MERCY ON HIS SOUL HEART OF MARY PRAY FOR HIM

PAGE.—In loving memory of Harold Thomas Page, 9th Battalion, killed in action in France, 19th April, 1917. Aged 19 years 10 months.
Inserted by his loving mother, sister, and brother, 4th Avenue, Coorparoo, also his brothers, Reuben and Fred, on active service.