Harold Charles Wythes

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WYTHES, Harold Charles

Service no: 6589 [1]

Place of birth: Cudal, 1895

Address: Molong

Occupation: Market gardener

Next of kin: John Wythes (father), Cheeseman’s Creek

Date of enlistment: 14 March 1916

Place of enlistment: Bathurst

Age at enlistment: 21

Fate: Embarked HMAT A40 Ceramic, Sydney, 7 October 1916. Disembarked Plymouth 21 November 1916. Marched into camp, England, 11 December 1916. Proceeded overseas, marched in from England to Etaples, 4 February 1917. Taken on strength ex 21 Reinforcements to 1st Battalion AIF. Hospitalised April 1917. Wounded and reported missing in action 5 May 1917. Reported to be killed in action, France, 5 May 1917 according to a court of enquiry, 28 November 1917.

Date of death: 5 May 1917

In January 1918 the Leader reported that John and Mary Jane Wythes had recently been informed of their son Harold’s death in action in France in September 1917. [2] Harold had, in fact, been killed in May 1917 during the Second Battle of Bullecourt. He was one of 21 men from the Orange district who were killed in that battle.

Harold was initially reported as “missing in action”; a court of enquiry held on 28 November 1917 upgraded his status to “killed in action”.

Born in Cudal in 1895, Harold was the fifth of nine children. He attended the local public school and later established a successful market gardening business with his brothers at Cheeseman’s Creek.

Harold enlisted on 14 March 1916. He embarked for overseas service on 7 October and disembarked in Plymouth on 21 November. In early February 1917 he proceeded to France, where he served until his death three months later.

According to his comrades Harold was on lookout duty when he struck by a shell and died a short time later.

Harold Charles Wythes is commemorated on the Cudal Public School Honour Roll, the Cudal District Honour Roll, the Cudal and District War Memorial Gates, on panel number 31 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux in France.

O, sad was the news when it reached our home,
That our dear brother had passed away;
We little thought his life so short
But God will to call him away. [3]

Cudal and District War Memorial Gates. Image courtesy Anthony Stavely-Alexander.
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