Friday, April 22, 2016



Samuel William HARRY

Every ANZAC Day there would be a ceremony held at the State School I attended. I would hear about Simpson and his Donkey and his gallant efforts to rescue the wounded soldiers fighting on the narrow peninsula, then known as the Dardanelles. (From, Wikipedia…The Dardanelles, formerly known as Hellespont, is a narrow strait in northwestern Turkey connecting the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with its counterpart, the Bosporus.) I always felt I had a connection…but to my knowledge, as a 7/8 yr old, I didn’t know of any family member, nor extended family member who had fought at Gallipoli.
Then in my early 20’s a cousin printed up a family history of the HARRY family. In that, there was mention of a Samuel William Harry who had died in Gallipoli…I was hooked. I had to find out EVERYTHING about Samuel William HARRY, who was my first cousin 4Xremoved. This is what Peter Reid wrote in the Harry Family History: “Samuel is known to have come to Australia from Cornwall, England and settled in Queensland, where his descendants still reside. A son of Samuel’s, Captain Samuel William HARRY, was killed in action in the First World War.” It was not a lot to go on, but it was all I had at the time and it was going to be many years until I unraveled the whole story, this is what I discovered.
Samuel William HARRY was the youngest child of eight from Samuel William HARRY & Sarah Hannah PORRITT. He was born in Pennsylvania, USA on Thursday 09 Feb 1882. Samuel William HARRY Snr, was a miner, as a skilled miner he traveled the world along with his family seeking work during the 19th Century, hence the children were born in England, Ireland and the USA. The family appears in the UK Census of 1851, 1861, 1871 and the US Census of 1880, before Samuel William HARRY jnr was born.

1880 US Census – Family of Samuel William Harry Snr
Samuel William HARRY, along with his parents & some siblings, moved to Charters Towers when he was aged 7yrs in 1889. He was educated at the Boys’ Central State School. He was already a member of the command in the local Senior Cadets at the outbreak of war, he had served for four years as a Commissioned Officer in 2nd Infantry.

Samuel William Harry jnr was mobilised for service in the war in August 1914. He embarked in Cairns, Queensland on the 8th August 1914, for Thursday Island, (War Station) Garrison Duty. Samuel then went on to enlist for service outside Australia on the 14th August 1914. He re-embarked on the “Kanonwa” to take part in the capture of German New Guinea. Taken on the strength of Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) vide routine order number 1 dated 9th September 1914. He returned to Townsville on the 18th September 1914 on account of the trouble caused by the firemen on the troop ship.
According to Wikipedia – During August and September 1914, Kanowna was requisitioned by the Australian military to transport 1,000 soldiers to German New Guinea as part of the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. Sailing late from Townsville on 8 August, however, the ship was forced to anchor off Thursday Island until 16 August, and did not arrive off Port Moresby until 6 September. The expeditionary force sailed the next day for Rabaul, but Kanowna fell behind the rest of the convoy, with the ship’s master signalling to HMAS Sydney that his crew had mutinied: the boiler stokers and firemen had stopped work. In Arthur Jose’s Royal Australian Navy-focused volume of the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918, he claims that the mutiny was because these men refused to leave Australian waters, but Tom Frame and Kevin Baker state in ‘Mutiny!’ that this is incorrect; the troopship was on short rations of food and water because of the delays sailing north and only minimal resupply in Port Moresby, but the stokers and firemen were requesting more water to remain hydrated in the hot boiler rooms and to wash off coal grime and refused to work until this demand was met. The workers were taken into the custody of a party of soldiers, and the force’s commander ordered Kanowna to return to Townsville, with soldiers volunteering to keep the ship running. The Australian Commonwealth Naval Board conducted an inquiry into the mutiny, even though as a civilian vessel, Kanowna technically wasn’t under their jurisdiction. The state of the supplies was seen as a major contributing factor to the sailors’ actions. Kanowna was returned to her owners on 21 September 1915. More about this campaign can be found at
Samuel William HARRY did not participate in the capture of German New Guinea. He was discharged on the 18th September 1914 and classified as being eligible for the British War Medal vide BRM 52/572, his rank at this time was that of a 2nd Lieutenant.

History of Service
Further history of the Kennedy Regiment that Samuel William Harry served in can be found at
HARRY, Samuel William Town Hall, Charters Towers, North Queensland Embarkations:
From Melbourne, Victoria on board Transport A40 Ceramic on 22 December 1914

Troops waiting to board HMAT Ceramic –
Samuel William HARRY
Date of birth 9 February 1882
Religion Church of England
Occupation Town clerk
Address Town Hall, Charters Towers, North Queensland
Marital status Single
Age at embarkation 32
Next of kin Mother, Mrs S H Harry, Windsor Terrace, Red Hill, Red Hill, Brisbane, Queensland
Previous military service 4 years commissioned rank in 2nd Infantry (Kennedy Regt).
Enlistment Date 28 September 1914
Rank on enlistment 2nd Lieutenant
Unit name 15th Battalion, D Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number 23/32/1
Embarkation details Unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board Transport A40 Ceramic on 22 December 1914
Rank from Nominal Roll Captain
Unit from Nominal Roll 15th Battalion
Promotions Lieutenant
Unit: 15th Battalion
Promotion date: 16 December 1914
Unit: 15th Battalion
Promotion date: 25 April 1915
Other details from Roll of Honour Circular ‘Sent to Thursday Island at outbreak of war, and then volunteered for service with AN&MEF on 16th August, 1914. Returned to Townsville on “Kenowna” owing to trouble with fireman, 18th September, 1914. Joined AIF on 28th September, 1914. Embarked with 15th Battalion on 22nd December, 1914.’ Details from Brother.
Not a lot is known upon the arrival at ANZAC Cove, but a description of the last sighting of Samuel William Harry is here…Three parties of the 15th Battalion had pushed forward from Quinn’s Post (beginning at about 10:45pm, 9th May) and seized disconnected sections of the Turkish trench 30 yards in front. They attempted to reverse the parapet of this trench, but discovered that it was composed mainly of rotting bodies covered with soil. Meanwhile Turks poured into the gaps between each of the parties, and it became difficult for the Commander, Colonel J.H. Cannan, in Quinn’s Post, to keep touch with the progress of the attack:
‘Although gallant men continually risked their lives to ensure that headquarters should be kept fully informed, the intelligence which reached Cannan was disconnected and fragmentary. Eventually, Captain Harry, acting adjutant of the 15th, volunteered to bring news of each party. After reporting that all was well with the left and right, he again went forward to find Frank Armstrong of the centre party. He reached the trench, but was never seen again.’ (Bean V2 106) (Chataway p.42).

Opinion of the death of Samuel William Harry at Quins Post
A letter from Lt. Harry appeared in the North Queensland Register 5 July 1915 p29.
‘Word has been received by Alderman J.T. Harry (of Charters Towers) from Major R.H. Carter (at Captain Harry’s request in case of anything happening to him) stating that Captain Harry had died at his post, having gone over with a party when they charged the enemy’s trenches.’ (North Queensland Register 26 July 1915 p69).
There had been a delay of the details of the death of Samuel William Harry, with the Mayor of Charters Towers sending an urgent telegram to assist Sarah Hannah Harry (Samuel’s mother)

Urgent Telegram sent from Mayor of Charters Towers, Queensland

His left his widowed mother ‘of mature years.’ Four sisters, two brothers; all married. (Source: Rockhampton Daily Record 29 Jul 1915 p7)., His father had died in 1897, in Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia. Prior to the outbreak of the first world war, 
Samuel William Harry jnr was 5’5″ tall and in good physical health.

CHARTERS TOWERS, September 21 (1915):
‘At the Town Hall today, at the request of the mayor, Councillor J. Millican and Mr Pritchard performed the ceremony of unveiling the photos of Captain S.W. Harry and Major Quinn, who were killed at the Dardanelles. Captain Harry was town clerk, while Major Quinn was a native of Charters Towers. A touching speech was made by the mayor regarding the good qualities of both officers. Captain Harry’s sword was hung under his portrait.’ 

(Brisbane Courier 22 Sept 1915 p7).

Ceremony for Men lost in Gallipoli from Charters Towers

Probate of the will of Samuel William Harry, formerly of Charters Towers, accountant, but lately an officer in the Australian Expeditionary Forces, deceased, was granted by the Registrar (Mr. Chas.S.Norris), at the Supreme Court, Townsville, to Sarah Hannah Harry of Brisbane, widow, mother of deceased. (Messrs Hobbs, Wilson, and Ryan) as town agents for Messrs. Marsland and Marsland, solicitor for executrix) Personalty sworn under £785.

Probate Granted
Eventually, the effects of Samuel William Harry were returned to his mother, the receipt of these goods was signed for by her Daughter in law.

Personal effects of Samuel William Harry.
Housewife = Housewife, a small canvas roll containing needle, thread, buttons etc, used for the personal maintenance of a soldier's kit.

Samuel William Harry, received the standard medals that were awarded to the participants in the fighting at Gallipoli, these were not received by his family until 1920

War Medal

Honours bestowed on Samuel William Harry
Source: Record of Samuel William HARRY – NAA: B2455, HARRY S W

I’m very proud to tell the story of Samuel William Harry, my Gallipoli Hero.
Fiona Tellesson – First Cousin 4XRemoved.
25th April 2015 

1 comment:

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