William Arthur John HARFIELD

Badge Number: 1608, Sub Branch: Glenelg

HARFIELD, William Arthur John

Service Number: 3138
Enlisted: 26 July 1915, Keswick, West Torrens, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 27th Infantry Battalion
Born: Parkside, South Australia, 23 September 1896
Home Town: Jamestown, Northern Areas, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Stock Agent
Died: Naracoorte, 28 December 1986, aged 90 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Centennial Park Cemetery, South Australia
Memorials: Gladstone High School WW1 Roll of Honor, Jamestown Soldier's Memorial Park Arch
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World War 1 Service

26 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Keswick, West Torrens, South Australia
9 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 3138, 27th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
12 Jan 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, HMAT Medic A7
Date unknown: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 3138, 32nd Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Wounded 3138, 32nd Infantry Battalion
Date unknown: Involvement 32nd Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)
Date unknown: Involvement 27th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières

Bill "Happy" Harfield

Bill Harlield was manager of Dalgety's at Kingston during the war (WW2) years, and then spent about thirteen years with Dalgety's at Naracoorte before retiring in the early 1960s. I believe Bill may have been a reinforcement to one of the SA Battalions, possibly the 27th.
He told me that they were guarding the Suez Canal. probably in late 1915 or early 1916, when a troopship from Australia came through.
He recognised two of his young friends from
Orroroo and called out, "What unit are you"? They
replied "The thirsty 32"d". So Bill applied for a rransfer
to that battalion.
He was with them at the battle of the
Somme in 1916, and it was at Corbie that he and six of
his mates were caught in the explosion of an artillery
shell. They had just finished a patrol and were enjoying
a swig of rum. All but Bill and one other were killed. Bill
was nineteen-years-old and I believe a sergeant. He lost
his right arm, and had shrapnel wounds to the whole
of his right side. The other survivor lost both legs. (Sgt
Archie McArthur).
The hospital ship taking Bill across the Channel
struck a mine, and Bill who then weighed not much
over six stone was tossed into the arms of sailors on a
destroyer. He used to say "I can still feel that salt water
on my wounds". He had a huge piece of shrapnel,
which cut his arm off.
Bill returned to Australia after a long spell in hospital in England.
He learned to write with his left hand, returned to his job as a stock agent with Dalgety's, and during his long service drove clients to sheep sales in the north of SA, Victoria and the Riverina. He drove hundreds of thousands of miles. He had a metal hand made to indicate turning, controlled by a switch on the steering wheel.
He was known as 'Happy Harfield', and was never known to grumble. He had a store of witty sayings and funny stories. I was told that when Bill was at Kingston, Archdeacon Redden preached a sermon based on Bill's life, and how he overcame disabilities, and brought cheer to other people.
One of the duties that went with the Dalgety Managership at Kingston was Harbour Master, and Bill would be taken out in
a motorboat to meet any incoming vessels. One was
a British Submarine. He took some of the officers
out to a sheep station to see some sheep shearing.
Another was an American Catalina flying boat, which
overshot Lake Boga flying down from Brisbane. Bill
was ninety when he died.

From Second to None by Roger Freeman

Showing 1 of 1 story


To be researched.


Story from "Second to None" p320