Harold Bourchier Dight (Lofty) BARLOW MC

BARLOW, Harold Bourchier Dight

Service Numbers: Not yet discovered
Enlisted: 11 August 1915
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: 20th Infantry Battalion
Born: Tumut, New South Wales, Australia, 1 August 1887
Home Town: Richmond, Hawkesbury, New South Wales
Schooling: Kings College, Goulburn & Hawkesbury Agricultural College, Richmond, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Dairy Instructor
Died: Natural causes, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 15 November 1949, aged 62 years
Cemetery: West Terrace Cemetery (General)
Cremated - Crematorium Reserve, Row B, Aspect W, Site Number 27
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

11 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 20th Infantry Battalion
30 Sep 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, 20th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Argyllshire, Sydney
30 Sep 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, 20th Infantry Battalion
11 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 20th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
4 May 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 20th Infantry Battalion, Bois-Grenier, Bomb wound left arm (slight).
14 Jun 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 20th Infantry Battalion, Bois-Grenier, Sharpnel wounds to both feet and left hand - shell shock and concussion.
18 Mar 1918: Honoured Military Cross, Menin Road, For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Hanebeke Wood, Belgium on 20 September 1917 - he rush a machine gun post and shot the crew of three single handed and then gallantly lead the Battalion to higher ground, personally supervising the dispositions and stimulating confidence in all ranks.
31 Aug 1918: Wounded AIF WW1, Captain, 20th Infantry Battalion, Mont St Quentin / Peronne, GSW to both thighs.
15 Nov 1919: Embarked AIF WW1, Captain, 20th Infantry Battalion, HMT Ypiranga, Liverpool, England for return to Australia with wife - arriving 26 December 1916.
9 Mar 1920: Discharged AIF WW1, Captain, 20th Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Involvement 20th Infantry Battalion, Pozières

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Biography

20 Battalion

Rank - Captain

5 May 1916 wounded in action

15 June 1916 wound in action

23 June 1916 embarked H.S. Stad Antwerpen at Calais for England. Shrapnel wound to both feet and left hand

24 June 1916 admitted 4 Northern General Hospital with shell shock

22 July 1916 discharged from hospital

6 December 1916 proceeded overseas to France

25 June 1917 promoted to Catain

2 April 1918 gunshot wound to thighs

Military Cross Citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On reaching the first objective he rushed a machine gun post and shot three of the crew single handed. Heavy casualties were being caused amongst the officers of the battalions through concentration of artillery fire, and this officer, quickly appreciating the situation, gallantly led the battalion to higher ground, which thus secured its final objective. His skilful leadership and bold initiative were potent factors in the success achieved.
Commonwealth Gazette No. 110
Date: 25 July 1918

Returned to Australia 15 November 1919

Medals: Military Cross, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

Son of Maurice and Hannah J. Barlow of Moore Street, Sydney, New South Wales. Brother of Lt Arthur Eldred Dight Barlow, 6th Field Artillery Brigade, killed in action, 28 May 1917.

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Biography contributed by Michael Silver

A tall, handsome and imposing figure, Captain Harold Bouchier Dight Barlow MC or ‘Lofty’, as he was known to his army colleagues, was at the forefront of every campaign undertaken by the 20th Battalion AIF during World War I. After the war he was a colossus in the dairy industry across Australia for over 40 years.

Reporting his passing on 15 November 1949, The Adelaide Advertiser said, “The South Australian dairy industry benefited on all sides from nearly a quarter of a century's work as Chief Dairy Instructor by Mr. Harold Bouchier Dight Barlow MC, who died on Sunday night. He was 62. He became ill last week during a visit to Kangaroo Island, and pneumonia developed on his return to his home at Prospect.

Mr. Barlow served with the South Australian Department of Agriculture as Chief Dairy Instructor since May 1926. He built up the dairy section of the department and served on committees not only on the primary side of dairying but dealing with associated Industries. He had a personal interest in Jersey and Guernsey stock and judged not only at country shows but at several Royal shows, including Perth.

The Minister of Agriculture Sir George Jenkins said last night, "Mr. Barlow gave splendid service. He played a prominent part in organising the present dairy branch of the department and was esteemed by everyone with whom he came in contact. He will be greatly missed." “

Born at Tumut, NSW in 1887, Harold Barlow was the second oldest of five children to Maurice Barlow, a surveyor who had migrated to Australia from Ireland, and his wife Hannah Jean (Jane) Dight who came from Richmond, NSW. His father worked for the Crown Lands Office and the family moved around regional NSW during his childhood spending time at Wagga Wagga and Dubbo amongst other centres. He was educated at King's College, Goulburn before studying for his diploma of dairy science at Hawkesbury Agricultural College. Harold Barlow joined the NSW Department of Agriculture and had risen to be senior dairy instructor before he was appointed Chief Dairy Instructor by the South Australian Government.

Enlisting in August 1915 for service in the Great War, he rose to the rank of Captain and was awarded the Military Cross. Wounded three times, Captain Barlow’s military career was one of challenging chapters – many where he cheated death. His elder brother, who enlisted shortly after him, Lieutenant Arthur Eldred Dight Barlow of the Australian Field Artillery was killed in action on 28 May 1917 near Armentieres.

As a Second Lieutenant, Harold Barlow spent the last month of the Gallipoli campaign on the peninsula before being evacuated. Promoted to Lieutenant in 1916 he was sent to the Western Front and was only in the line a few weeks when he was slightly wounded by enemy shell fire at Bois-Grenier. A month later he had a very narrow escape when a shell made a direct hit on a steel cupola that several officers were occupying for lunch. Two colleagues were killed whilst Lieutenant Barlow was knocked unconscious for several minutes and suffered superficial wounds to his left hand and both legs. Despite his injuries he remained on duty for an hour before collapsing and being taken to the casualty clearing station.

In June 1917 he was promoted to Captain and on 20 September at Hanebeke Wood, Belgium, on the first day of the Battle of Menin Road, he single-handed captured a machine gun post shooting the three crew with his revolver and, after assuming command of the forward line, reorganised the Battalion which was in an extremely difficult position under heavy shell fire. His leadership stimulated confidence in all ranks which was highlighted by subsequent comments from Lieutenant Gordon Carmichael Cameron MC. Lieutenant Cameron, was sprayed in eight places by a 5.9 inch howitzer with one piece of shell penetrating his helmet and entering his head and another glancing from his revolver handle upwards and knocking out his left eye - Captain Barlow bandaged him up. Cameron said, “I did not think it possible for a man to do what Captain Barlow did. He did the work of four captains and controlled the fighting of four companies.”  For his gallantry and devotion to duty Captain Barlow was awarded the Military Cross.

His war service came to an end in the late afternoon of 31 August 1918 during the attack on Mont St Quentin. After leading a rapid advance during the day, members of his company and himself were cut off and forced to hurriedly withdraw. Racing to a rear trench he was wounded in both thighs. Unable to walk, he thought he would be captured but was assisted to safety by another 20th Battalion man.

After the war he continued his studies at the British Rothamsted experimental station and in Denmark. There he met and married his wife Margrethe Jeppesen - she returned to Australia with him in the troopship, HMT Ypiranga in late 1919.

He was survived by his widow and three daughters, Pretinca, Elizabeth and Muriel.

References:

The Adelaide Advertiser – 15 November 1949 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page2616566

Evening News – 28 February 1918 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page12364409

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