Harold Clement PETTMAN

PETTMAN, Harold Clement

Service Number: 246
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 8th Machine Gun Company
Born: Not yet discovered
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Adelaide Gilles Street Primary School WW1 Honour Roll (New), Blyth Kybunga Pictorial Honour Board
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World War 1 Service

4 May 1916: Involvement Private, 246, 8th Machine Gun Company
4 May 1916: Embarked Private, 246, 8th Machine Gun Company, HMAT Port Lincoln, Melbourne
Date unknown: Wounded 246, 25th Machine Gun Company

Lily Petman, wife of Harold

Lily Petman nee Rose, was the daughter of a London tailor who made clothes for many members of the Royal Family and other high class people. Her father trained his sons and sent them all round the world to form an international company. One son came to Australia, one to Canada, one to Holland, one to Belgium and one stayed in England. Two sons went to Russia but contact was lost during the war and their fate is unknown. The son in Belgium became attached to the Royal household and called his father across to help. They became the Royal Military Outfitters to King Leopold and were awarded a large medal which I now have in my possesion. Lily was much younger than the boys and enjoyed a rich lifestyle with servants to look after her and her family. She studied at the Paris University and mingled with high society. When WW1 broke out they were initially placed under the protection of the American Embassy, but eventually had to flee, walking to Holland where the local brother had them smuggled back to England. They had lost everything and Lily was forced to seek employment. Her education and background meant that she was able to speak many languages fluently and she was employed by the Ministry of Defence as an interpreter. Her brother in Australia enlisted in the AIF and visited her and her parents while in London while on leave and one of his mates, Harold Petman, married Lily in 1918. In Adelaide after the war Lily hosted many dances and fine occasions, and after Harolds' death in 1966 she travelled extensively before passing away in 1995 at 100 years of age.


Harold Clement Petman

Harold Clement Petman was my grandfather. He enlisted in 1916 and as he was a big strong man he was posted to a machine gun battalion. He was a share farmer from Kybunga who rode his horse down to Adelaide to enlist. He left his horse, saddle and assorted tack with his sister, Hilda, and told her he would be back by Christmas. Hilda had a market garden West of Adelaide. As soon as he left she sold the horse and all the associated kit.
Harold trained in North Africa and then in England and arrived in France with the 25th Machine Gun Company as a Sergeant shortly before the battle of Polygon Wood. His battalion suffered horrendous casualties but pushed on toward Passchendale. Harold was wounded just prior to the battle of Passchendale and was out of the lines for about a month. Due to the huge losses the battalion had suffered Harold was promoted to Warrant Officer.
The 25th MG Coy was redesignated as the 5th Division Machine Gun Battalion but maintained the 25th MG Coy title until the end of the war.
While the battalion was on the Western Front, in early April, Harold was sent to England to attend Officers Training School. After graduating as a Lieutanant Harold was sent to undergo training at a Machine Gun training establishment. Before he was sent back to France the war ended.
When Harold was in England training in 1916/1917 he and a few friends accompanied on of their mates to visit his family who were living in London (this is an amazing story in itself). Harold took a shine to his mates sister and they became engaged. They married while Harold was undergoing his officer training course.
Because Harold was now married to an Englishwoman this was detrimental to his repatriation back to Australia. They eventually arrived in Port Adelaide in August 1919 with my grandmother Lily heavily pregnant and harold was eventually discharged.
When Harold enlisted his records show him as a share farmer...on his records pertaining to his marriage (while a Warrant Officer) he is designated as a station manager....on his discharge papers (as a Lt) he was shown to be an engineer.
When Harold enlisted his widowed mother was left to look after their property. She married the local butcher and soon after passed away, so when Harold arrived home he found his horse had been sold and the family property was now owned by the butcher. Undetered he purchased land at Ashford and grew fruit and vegetables, then farmed at Beaumont, Clare and Watervale.

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