Harry Hopetoun (Hope) WHARTON

Poppy

WHARTON, Harry Hopetoun

Service Number: 357
Enlisted: 25 August 1914, Randwick, New South Wales
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 2nd Infantry Battalion
Born: Molong, New South Wales, Australia, 19 November 1889
Home Town: Armidale, Armidale Dumaresq, New South Wales
Schooling: Pyramul Upper Public School and Black Mountain Public School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: School Teacher
Died: Died of Wounds, Aboard HMTS Derfflinger off Gaba Tepe, Gallipoli, 30 April 1915, aged 25 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
No known grave - Buried at sea (aboard HMTS Derfflinger)
Memorials: Armidale Memorial Fountain, Armidale Protestant Alliance Friendly Society Honour Roll, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Dangarsleigh War Memorial, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing, Parramatta NSW Public School Teachers KIA Honour Roll
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World War 1 Service

25 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 357, Randwick, New South Wales
18 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 357, 2nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
18 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 357, 2nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Suffolk, Sydney
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 357, 2nd Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli

Help us honour Harry Hopetoun Wharton's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Elizabeth Allen

Harry Hopetoun WHARTON was born in 1889 in Molong, New South Wales

His parents were John Henry WHARTON who came from Lancashire, England & married Sarah COTTON on 5th July, 1883 in Forbes, NSW

Harry had previous service in the Senior Cadets before he enlisted for WW1

Biography contributed by Michael Silver

Brothers Harry Hopetoun (‘Hope’) Wharton (born 1889) and Leslie (‘Les’) Wharton (born 1891) were born eighteen months apart at Rocky Ponds near Molong, New South Wales, where their Lancashire-born father, John Henry Wharton, taught at the local school. They received their schooling in various country locations to which their father was transferred, living in school residences, while their mother Sarah (nee Cotton) taught sewing and brought up the children. By the time they moved to Black Mountain School in 1902 and then Ben Venue School in Armidale in 1908, the family had grown to four sons and three daughters.

On leaving school both Hope and Les trained as teachers, and at the outbreak of war in 1914 Hope was teaching at Groses Creek, near Uralla southeast of Armidale, and Les was completing his training at Hereford House in Sydney.

Both boys had completed the compulsory military training which had been initiated for 18-24 years-olds in January 1911 and was equivalent to 16 days per year.

Amongst the first rush of volunteers were Hope and Les, arriving at Victoria Barracks on 14 August to be sorted alphabetically into a long line. From the line, groups of 20 men presented themselves at tables where a doctor was able to give them a preliminary medical clearance, and a clerk allotted Hope and Les numbers 357 and 358 respectively, as privates in 2nd Battalion, ‘C’ Company.

The brothers proceeded to Randwick Racecourse where they were issued with two brown blankets which helped to soften the concrete floor of the Ledger Stand where they were to sleep. Transfer to the Kensington Racecourse provided orderly rows of bell tents, each accommodating eight men, and a programme of intensive training. A private received five shillings per day with one shilling per day deferred.

In early October 1914, the four uniformed battalions marched through the streets of Sydney in a spectacular pageant prior to embarkation on 18 October. At 8 am the 2nd Battalion of around 1,000 men boarded the troopship A23 Suffolk. Boarding took 25 minutes and the ship, which was to be their home for the next seven weeks, sailed for Albany at 4.30 pm.

From Albany a convoy of 36 ships sailed from King Georges Sound on 1 November – for many, including Hope Wharton, this would be the last sight of their homeland.

After sailing up the Suez Canal to Alexandria, on 8 December the men were issued with a 24 hour ration of one tin of bully beef and six army biscuits to serve them for the train trip from Alexandria to Cairo.

The intense and interminable training under desert conditions for almost four months was a period of severe frustration for these men, fired up to actively fight for ‘King and Country’. But it came to an end on 1 April when Hope and Les sailed with the 2nd Battalion from Alexandria on the captured German ship ‘Derfflinger’, bound for Mudros Harbour on the island of Lemnos. Here they practised silent disembarkation with full packs. The ‘real’ disembarkation, commencing before dawn on 25 April was with full 70 lb (32 kg) packs and a bundle of sticks or boards for firewood, was carried out in total silence. Boats of 40 men were towed in lines of four, to 500 yards from shore, where the tow lines were released, and the men then lowered their upright oars and rowed.

Hope and Les (who landed later in the day) survived the frantic scramble up the steep and rugged cliffs under fire to assemble in some form of order despite loss of men and officers. In Les’ words: “Hope and I were in the same trench for a while. All our battalion was mixed up, NZ men and men of all brigades together. Colonel Braund was in charge of our men. He captured a position and held it against awful odds. Our Major and the majority of our officers were shot, some think by men who joined as spies and other officers were shot by Turkish snipers. Hope and I got separated. I was sniping off the Turkish snipers and as soon as we had got them, Joe Western and I rushed out to get the wounded men, who could not be attended to owing to the scarcity of AMC men. We rescued three or four each and the last one we came to was Hope. He was lying in a safe position, to which he had been carried by the AMC men. He was bandaged up and very glad to see us. We had great difficulty in getting a stretcher, but we managed it and carried him all the way down a spur, past the various AMC dugouts to headquarters. As we passed the dugouts, he was inspected and given a little beef tea. Hope had been in pain at first, but the doctor gave him a light dose of morphia. We cheered him up and got him to where the boats were coming in to take the wounded to hospital … I bade him farewell on the beach, hoping to hear of his recovery.

I have since heard that he had been fighting in the firing line and when ammunition ran out, he commenced rescue work. We were fighting on the extreme left. The position was vital. We fought our way up a steep spur. False orders were being passed by spies along our lines. If we lost our position the whole division would have been wiped out. After fighting from 7.30 am to 5.30 pm reinforcements arrived but were sent back by false orders from a spy. He was one who came out with us and was second to me in a trench. A mate of mine caught him and shot him. At dusk we gained the top of the spur. Food and water came up. We were refreshed but must go on and gain another trench. The order was given to charge with bayonets. We won against awful odds, routed the Turks, but Hope and four others who were up first were seriously wounded or killed.”

Private Hope Wharton was mortally wounded with severe abdominal injuries. On 29 April, he died on board the Derfflinger on route to Alexandria and was buried at sea the following day. He is remembered at the Lone Pine Memorial in the Lone Pine Cemetery on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Canakkale Province, Turkey.

His brother, Les was wounded at Lone Pine in August 1915 and later in France in 1918, but survived the war, rising to Lieutenant and being awarded the  Military Cross.

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