Harold Leonard ANTONSON

ANTONSON, Harold Leonard

Service Number: 2245
Enlisted: 10 January 1916, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Trooper
Last Unit: 14th Light Horse Regiment
Born: Portland, South Australia, 30 October 1893
Home Town: Port Adelaide, Port Adelaide Enfield, South Australia
Schooling: Port Adelaide Public School
Occupation: Horse driver
Died: Died of Illness (Malaria), Damascus, Syria, 16 October 1918, aged 24 years
Cemetery: Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery, Syria
Memorials: Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Brisbane 14th Australian Light Horse Regiment Memorial Plaque
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World War 1 Service

10 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia
28 Apr 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2245, 9th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1,

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '2' embarkation_place: Adelaide embarkation_ship: HMAT Bakara embarkation_ship_number: A41 public_note: ''

28 Apr 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 2245, 9th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Bakara, Adelaide
9 Jul 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2245, Camel Corps
31 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 2245, 3 Battalion Imperial Camel Corps, Battle of Beersheba
16 Oct 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, 2245, 14th Light Horse Regiment,

--- :awm_ww1_roll_of_honour_import: awm_service_number: 2245 awm_unit: 14th Australian Light Horse Regiment awm_rank: Trooper awm_died_date: 1918-10-16

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Harold Leonard Antonson was born 30 October 1893, in Portland, South Australia. He was the second child of John and Mary (nee McKenna) Antonson.

Harold attended Port Adelaide School and worked as a horse driver for Mallyon’s Ltd. From January 1895 until 1898, Harold and his family lived at New Residence on the River Murray. His family was among 17 other families from Port Adelaide who took up land in the village settlement scheme.

On enlistment, Harold is described as being 5’ 8 ¼”, with brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. He was 22 years and 3 months of age. His brothers remembered Harold as the musical one of the family. He played the harmonica, accordion, mandolin and piano by ear. He also had a good singing voice and was the entertainer at parties before the war.

Harold enlisted in the AIF on January 10, 1916 and was part of the 9th Light Horse Regiment, 16th Reinforcements. He sailed for Egypt on 28 April 1916 aboard the HMAT Bakara.

From July 1916, Harold was attached to the Imperial Camel Corps and subsequently served with the 3rd Battalion and 4th ANZAC Battalion, Imperial Camel Corps. All of Harold’s service was seen in Egypt’s Western Desert and Palestine, battling the pro-Turkish Senussi tribesmen in Egypt and then the Turkish army in the Sinai Desert, including in the operations conducted in November 1917 to destroy the Turkish defensive line between Gaza and Beersheba. When the Camel Corps were disbanded in 1918, Harold transferred to the 14th Light Horse.

Harold contracted malignant malaria and died on October 16, 1918, fourteen days before his 25th birthday and 26 days before the Armistice.  He was buried in the Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery, Syria.

Harold is commemorated at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, the South Australian War Memorial, North Tce, Adelaide and on his parents’ grave at Cheltenham Cemetery, Cheltenham, South Australia. - Submitted 18 April 2015 by Heather Reid