Melvin James Sawtell HARRIGAN

HARRIGAN, Melvin James Sawtell

Service Number: 150
Enlisted: 19 January 1915, Liverpool, New South Wales
Last Rank: Corporal Mechanic
Last Unit: No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
Born: Glebe, New South Wales, Australia, 27 February 1883
Home Town: Tenterfield, Tenterfield Municipality, New South Wales
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Grazier
Died: Natural causes, Mareeba, Queensland, Australia, 8 August 1970, aged 87 years
Cemetery: Mareeba General Cemetery, Queensland
Show Relationships

World War 1 Service

19 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, 150, Liverpool, New South Wales
22 Jun 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 150, 12th Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Vestalia, Sydney
22 Jun 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 150, 12th Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '3' embarkation_place: Sydney embarkation_ship: HMAT Vestalia embarkation_ship_number: A44 public_note: ''
29 Aug 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, 150, 1st Light Horse Regiment, ANZAC / Gallipoli
22 Feb 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, 12th Light Horse Regiment, Reabsorbed from 1 L.H.Regt.
11 May 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Sergeant, 12th Light Horse Regiment
17 May 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 12th Light Horse Regiment
15 Oct 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, 12th Light Horse Regiment, Maghara Hills Raid
15 Dec 1916: Transferred No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
4 Jan 1917: Transferred Second Class Air Mechanic, No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
7 Mar 1917: Promoted First Class Air Mechanic, No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
1 Mar 1918: Promoted Corporal, No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps
19 Apr 1919: Discharged Corporal Mechanic, 150, No. 2 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps

War Correspondence


August 23
Dear Mel,
As Ethel wrote to you last week, I’m just sending you a few lines to wish you all sorts of good luck and hope this will find you in the best of health and spirits. I do hope it will not be long before we get a letter from you as we are longing to hear how you are getting on if you are fighting. I do hope you will not get badly wounded and hope you will be spared to come back again and now close with fond love from Aunt.

Melvin had a book for his sister Lilac called “Richard III” a Collins’ English Classic by William Lawson dated 19 May 1915 with Australian Light Horse 12th Regiment stamped on it with ‘For Lilac love from Melvin’. Found this book 89 years later on 16 September 2004 at Melvin’s eldest son Dick’s place in Mareeba.


‘My dear Mel, I am writing this in PO, no decent pen obtainable. You asked us to send you P Cards but did not say whether local or not. You might let us know. We will be going out this afternoon. Mr Allsop told Mr Kellett that bush fires were raging 10 miles wide and that 40 men were fighting them. They come from Q’land I think, so he has to go through out in case of need. Your letters upset Ma so she worries about you, is a little relieved about you improving. Percy Higgins is going too I think. Auntie Rose is worried too. The last thing a person can do is to be feed properly when one is sick and I know when you complain it must be bad. Mr Kellett has taken possession of your dog, he is looking quite well again. I do hope your next letter will be a more cheerful one because we think of you so often and what you have to put up with. Love Lima.’
(Letter from Lima Harrigan, Melvin’s sister. 1916. School of Arts, Tenterfield)

Collected Poetry:

by Sarojini Naidu
Hill 580
And you honour the deeds of the deathless ones
Remember the blood of my martyred sons.

by Sarojini Naidu
They are strewn like blossoms mown down by chance
On the blood starved meadows of Flanders and France

by Sarojini Naidu
Gathered like pearls in their alien graves
Silent they sleep by the Persian waves


Huntington 17/9/17
Stayed at the Old Bridge Hotel where Cromwell was born. Also saw the house where William Cowper lived. Also some interesting pubs and churches and a big Sebastopol gun in the square. Cromwell’s old accoutrements living in the pub hall where were stayed.

Lieu Agnew was the first of our pilots to go west in France being lost on 2/19/17, posted missing 2 days later. We miss Muir very much.

Peckham Rye SE15
6th December 1917

Dear Mel,
At last I am sending that diary, hope you won’t be frightfully disgusted with me for keeping you waiting such a long time. I expect you will see in the papers, we had a raid at 4.30 this morning. I heard threw at a distance at 3.50 and woke the slumberers at 4.30 when the warning was given. Just a bit cold I can assure you but we soon had some fires and not till bombs were dropped about 1 mile from us (Dulwich Village). I see by the papers there are many thousands of parcels going out daily. I expect it will be some time before you get this. Every good wish and kindest thoughts.
Yours sincerely
N. Westby.

PS Hope the Harrigans on the Appama were no relations of yours.


(This was written on 25 May 1918)

From No 150
No 2 Sqdn. Australian Flying Corps.

To G.O.C.
4th Australian Division, A.I.F.

I respectfully beg to lodge an application with you with a view of obtaining a commission in your fourth Infantry Brigade. I left Australia early in 1915, with one of the Light Horse Regiments, serving over four months in the line on Gallipoli, leaving Anzac on the last night of the evacuation. On our return to Egypt, I served for twelve months on the Sinai front, reaching to the rank of troop sergeant. I reverted to the ranks of my own accord to join the A.F.C. hoping to obtain my brevet in England, but my age was against me, being 35. Being of an adventurous spirit I would like to have another go in the line.
My civil occupation is grazing, in N.S.W. and I may add, I have a fairly good education. My crime sheet is clean, and my health is good.
I may add also that I hold very good credentials from my late Sqdn Commander of Light Horse, Major Stuart Moray.

Dear Jock,
Your letter received today and instructions carried out “at the toule “. Herewith razors, strap, diary and cig also hope they catch you in time. Am sending them per George Walsh in the morning and he doubtless will either post or deliver them in Blighty.
Well, old swinger, my congrats, guess you’ll beat the early rush and get a comfy trip home. Now, in regard to your other gear, shall keep it intact until I’m certain you’re not coming back in which case, I’ll destroy the vast quantities of correspondence you have, assist myself to souvenirs, and variously dispose of the remainder.
Must quit and pack this up. The boys send their love as do I also.
Ha, ha, joke. I believe No 4 have the honour of going to Hunland with the army of occupation and Major Mac told ‘em that any man who misbehaves will be sent home with No 2. Damn funny, n’est ce pas?
Well old son, cheerio and bon voyage, hope to see you in gawd’s own country some day.
Yours fraternally
Norm Hansen.
PS Old Nick (APM Nicol) my assistant asks will you give him a print of the snap you took of him in front of the test bench, please. NH

Jock, you old devil.
This yer cig case was falling to bits, so I fixed it up for you. I’m still offsider to Herr Hansen now, under his expert tuition, I am rapidly acquiring the art of making myself comfortable and secondly of saying, with much relish and fiendish glee “We haven’t got it” to the herbs, in accordance with the traditions of the store.
T V Nicol



1st Wing HQ
Tetbury, Gloucester, England
15th February 1919

Dear old Jock,
Hurrah, you are home by now and I received your letter posted from Port Said about 1/1/1919. Col and I were glad to hear from you. By Jove, it is incredible that this time last year we were at Savoy around that old fireplace frying meat and having supper. One never gave it a serious thought that you would be home 12 months time. You soon followed the 1918 fellows. There are many 1915 men here. Cowper and co. they can’t get home tho they have applied. You were lucky, sure enough. Nearly all the 2nd Squadron are here now. Harry Beattie is travelling through England with the overseas teachers. Lawrence………………………………………….. ……………………………………………(note, a line of the letter is missing here on the fold)
friendship between us boys which will ….our memory in days to come. My home address is Elmore (?) but I’ll write again from here.

I’d love to come to your little hut up on the long trail. Do please remember to give my most earnest regards to all your dear sisters and mother and father. I haven’t blossomed out in my true colours this letter but dry humour and this frozen raw chilly day don’t blend. Whisky and soda please. No Vin Blanc or or Rluig Ploug or Van Rouge or Mullagar Comfer to night. You and I met McKenzie (Cyclist) in Savoy celebrating the 3 17th’s March, put it here, boy, the warmest hand shake from the old go.

We expect to go home as a Unit on 2 or 3 boats taking 100 machines back with us.

Really, Jock, it was most unfair of you getting a flying start back home on us (Hear Hear). Remember the Aubigny Haircutter and the little boy. ?????. (Encore, Encore, Encore). Remember our Hennancourt stunts Mademoiselle, Publicque, Bang.

Compare Dynamo (cheers). The old Baizieux hut, the New Years night orgy, old Dick Humphreys and Dave Thompson (the Tin Can Band), Auchel and Mademoiselle and the “eggs and chips”, Pomme de Serre and Erf and Harry Beattie and the straw.

Compare the old trip into Beauvais and the Gay Loings (Encore). Remember Alf Hancock and the drive home. The old Yacka Nicols in the tent at Foquerolles, the store at Bertangles (the PT one), Bellevue and the smoke ……………………………(note, a line of the letter is missing here on the fold)
…show on Saturday night and Britton the wetter (Good for the old Squad). Jimmy Wilde the world’s fly weight champion gave an exhibition.

We are continuing flying until 15th March then cease and square up. What then? I can’t say. We are frozen up on all sides and we get off for an hour and go ice skating on a long chain of water in a Toff’s Lumpy on the Minchin Road. Col is good O and we have immense fun on the moonlight nights there (Cheers).

(This is part of a letter from Norm Hansen, store friend of Melvin’s in the 2nd Squadron)

Showing 1 of 1 story