William David HARRIS MC

HARRIS, William David

Service Numbers: 332, N60185
Enlisted: 16 September 1915, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: Lines of Communication Units
Born: Wodonga, Victoria, 16 November 1883
Home Town: Mosman, Municipality of Mosman, New South Wales
Schooling: Melbourne University
Occupation: Wool Traveller / Manager
Died: 163 Avenue Road, Mosman, NSW, 29 April 1959, aged 75 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Goulburn Boer War Memorial, Mosman "With the Colors" Pictorial Honour Roll, Mosman War Memorial
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Boer War Service

16 Jan 1902: Involvement Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion), Trooper, SN 332, 1st Battalion, Australian Commonwealth Horse

World War 1 Service

16 Sep 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Sydney, New South Wales
20 Dec 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 2nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Aeneas, Sydney
20 Dec 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 2nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
12 Mar 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 54th Infantry Battalion
14 Jun 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 54th Infantry Battalion
19 Jul 1916: Honoured Military Cross, Fromelles (Fleurbaix)
31 Oct 1917: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 54th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Sydney
31 Oct 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 54th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
15 Sep 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Captain
28 Apr 1919: Discharged AIF WW1, Captain, 54th Infantry Battalion

World War 2 Service

6 Dec 1939: Enlisted Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Major, SN N60185, Sydney, New South Wales
28 Feb 1944: Discharged Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Major, SN N60185, Lines of Communication Units, Area Recruiting (NSW)

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Biography contributed by John Edwards

Son of William John HARRIS and Margaret Amelia nee REESE


There were 500 rank and file in one contingent, yet not a man or officer among them knew why Lieut. W. D. Harris was given the M.C. They were just as eager as the pressmen to discover the reason, but each one confessed he had been baffled whenever, on the long voyage out, he had quietly brought the subject up, thinking the hero might be tempted to tell of his own doings. Colonel Burnage, who was in command, smilingly admitted he knew as little as the adjutant — who know nothing. When the reporters swarmed on board, Lieut. Harris did not turn and run. He went forward and met the bunch, and exclaimed, "All I can give you is a cigarette. No reporter can get a word from me because there is nothing worth talking about." One of the officers said later that all he could get from him was, "I merely did my job — hung on to something or other." Another suspected that the Cross was won on July 19, at Fromelle, while a nursing sister, who passed by at that moment, said she had been in the saloon of the ship since she left England, and did not even know there was a Lieut. Harris on board. The lieutenant, however, is a married man, living at Royalist-road, Mosman, and there is, after all, some hope that something of his story will bo told." - from the Sydney Morning Herald 04 Jan 1917 (nla.gov.au)

Military Cross

'For conspicuous gallantry in action. As senior officer in the firing line he skilfully consolidated the ground won. He organized bombing parties and repelled a counter attack, and all night set a fine example to those around him.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 184
Date: 14 December 1916

MAJOR W. D. HARRIS, of 163 Avenue Road, Mosman. who, it was announced yesterday, has been endorsed as U.A.P. candidate for Lang electorate, has served in three wars. At the age of 14 he joined up and served as a bugler in the Boer War. During the 1914-18 conflict he won the Military Cross, and in this war he was mobilised as an Area Officer. In civilian life Major Harris follows the calling of advertising manager and is a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Economics of the Melbourne University. (July 1943)