Thomas Harrison

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Service no: 4427 [1]

Place of birth: Lucknow, 1893

Address: 43 Ben Boyd Road, Neutral Bay

Occupation: Slater and tiler

Next of kin: Annie Eliza Harrison (mother), 43 Ben Boyd Road, Neutral Bay

Date of enlistment: 1 February 1916

Place of enlistment: Casula

Age at enlistment: 22

Fate: Embarked HMAT A71 Nestor, Sydney, 9 April 1916. Embarked HMT Magantic, Alexandria, 30 May 1916. Disembarked Plymouth 7 June 1916. Marched out from 5th Training Battalion, Rollestone, for France 15 August 1916. Marched in to No 2 Base Depot, Etaples, 17 August 1916. Taken on strength 19th Battalion, 28 August 1916. Wounded in action, gunshot wound, left shoulder, 14 November 1916. Admitted to 3rd Stationary Hospital, Rouen, 16 November 1916. Transferred to England 20 November 1916. Admitted to 1st Southern General Hospital 21 November 1916. Transferred to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, 23 January 1917. Discharged to furlough 4 February 1917. Marched in to Perham Downs 22 February 1917. Embarked Southampton for France 9 October 1917. Marched in to 2nd Australian Divisional Base Depot, Havre, 10 October 1917. Taken on strength19th Battalion, Belgium, 14 October 1917. Admitted to 3rd Canadian General Hospital with a gunshot wound to the right arm, 25 October 1917. Transferred to England 29 October 1917. Admitted to 2nd Southern General Hospital Bristol, 30 October 1917. Transferred to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, 12 December 1917. Marched out to Overseas Training Battalion 8 February 1918. Proceeded overseas to France 4 March 1918. Rejoined battalion, Belgium, 9 March 1918. Killed in action, Villers-Bretonneux, France, 17 July 1918.

Date of death: 17 July 1918

Buried: Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, France, Plot III, Row A, Grave 5

Four members of the Harrison family from Lucknow volunteered to serve in the First World War. One of them – Thomas Harrison – did not return; he was killed in action at Villers-Bretonneux in France on 17 July 1918, at age 24.

Thomas was born in Lucknow in 1893. His father, Frederick, had arrived in Australia in March 1885 and was employee of the Wentworth Mine at Lucknow. By the late 1890s the family had relocated to Neutral Bay in Sydney, where Thomas attended the public school.

On 1 February 1916 Thomas enlisted at Casula. He gave his occupation as a slater and tiler and nominated his mother Annie Eliza as his next of kin. He embarked for overseas service on 9 April and disembarked at Plymouth on 7 June after a brief stopover in Alexandria, Egypt, to change ships.

Thomas undertook further training at the 5th Training Battalion before proceeding to France on 17 August, a private in the19th Battalion, 11th Reinforcement.

On 16 November 1916 Private Harrison was wounded in action, receiving a gunshot wound to the left shoulder. He was evacuated to England where he was hospitalised and rehabilitated, followed by three weeks of furlough. He then spent ten months at Perham Downs before rejoining his battalion in Belgium on 14 October 1917.

Nine days later Thomas was shot for a second time, this time in the right arm. He was admitted initially to the 3rd Canadian General Hospital, but was again transferred to England for treatment. He did not rejoin his unit for a further four months.

At daybreak on 17 July 1918 the 19th Battalion succeeded in capturing a German post near Villers-Bretonneux. Private Harrison was stretcher-bearing, transporting a wounded German soldier to safety when he was hit by an enemy shell, killing him instantly. Thomas was buried in the nearby Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery.

Thomas’ brothers Frederick Harrison 1892-1949 and Richard Harrison also served in WWI, as did his father, Frederick Harrison 1864-1945. All survived the war.

Thomas Harrison is commemorated on panel number 88 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

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