Harold Hopgood Surman

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Personal Information
Date of Birth unknown Jul 1864
Place of Birth London, England
Death 5 Jan 1954, aged 89
Place of Death Beaconsfield, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 44 years, 9 months
Description 5'5½" (1.66m) tall; weight 127 lbs (57.6 kg); fresh complexion, hazel eyes, brown hair
Occupation tailor or farmer
Religion Church of England
Address Armadale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife Mrs Iris Edna Surman
Military Information
Reg Number 3447
Date of Enlistment 24 Jan 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 51st Battalion, 9th Reinforcement / 13th Brigade, 4th Division
Date of Embarkation 29 Jan 1917 - 27 Mar 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A28 Miltiades
Date of Return 15 Feb 1918 - 8 Apr 1918
Ship Returned On SS Llanstephan Castle
Fate Wounded in Action 26 Sep 1917 at Polygon Wood
Returned to Australia
Monument Armadale War Memorial (West Armadale panel)
Armadale and Districts Roll of Honour
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

1909 Married Iris Edna Tapper (b. 1890) in Fremantle. Son Gilbert Nelson (b.1909 - d. 1997); Son Harold Frederick (b. 1911 - 12 Oct 1987); and daughter Constance Matilda (b. 1914 - d. 1972).

Electoral Roll entries - 1906 tailor at Hampton street, Beaconsfield; 1910 - 1912 with Iris, gaoler rear of 137 Alexander road, South Fremantle; 1913 - 1916 farmer, Wongong Flats, Armadale.

In Jan 1916 at enlistment he claims to be 44 years of age, when he was actually 51.

War Service

Early in his time at Blackboy Hill Harold was earmarked for the Pioneers, but on 12 Apr 1916 he was reallocated to the 19th reinforcement draft for the 16th Battalion, changing to the 23rd draft on 14 Aug, then the 22nd draft on 4 Sep 1916, and finally as a result of being hospitalised in the 8th Australian General Hospital Fremantle from 20 Dec 1916 to 18 Jan 1917, he found himself in the 9th reinforcement draft for the 51st Battalion, and it was with this draft that he left Australia.

During the voyage to England, Harold spent two brief periods in the ship's hospital. On arrival in England he was posted to the 13th Training Battalion at Codford, and following training he proceeding overseas to France from Southampton on 25 Jun 1917.

Harold reached the 51st Battalion on 15 Jul 1917 and was taken on strength by them while they were in the front line between the Warnave and Douve Rivers in southern Belgium near Ploegsteert. On 26 Sep 1917 the 51st Battalion were tasked with taking the third line of objectives in the major attack in what is known as the Battle for Polygon Wood. They marched out from Ypres the previous day and were formed up in no man's land at 1:30am.

It is not known if Harold's wound occurred during the attack, or later in repelling German counter attacks on the ground that the Australians had won that morning. He received a GSW to his left arm and was seen first by an Australian Field Ambulance which passed him on to the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station the same day. On 27 Sep 1917 he was admitted to the 11th General Hospital in Camiers and two days later he was released to the 6th Convalescent Depot. Moved to the 5th Convalescent Depot in Cayeux on 3 Oct 1017, he was released to Based Details 10 days later.

Rejoining his battalion on 2 Nov 1917, his age and the injury were obviously affecting him, and he was on 26 Dec 1917 sent for a Medical Board at the Australian Infantry Base Depot which determined that he was not fit for front line duty (age now given as 52 and suffering rheumatism) and he left France through Le Havre on 6 Jan 1918 for England to perform permanent Base duties.

Discharged 5th Military District 28 Apr 1918 - age.

His name is included in the 1917 Feb-Mar edition of The Drill of the Foot-Hills, but no details.

Post War

Electoral Roll entries - 1922 Iris at 243 Hampton road, South Fremantle; 1925 Iris in Holland street, East Fremantle, Harold a timber worker at Plavin's (Dwellingup area?); 1931 Iris at rear 264 Hampton road, South Fremantle; 1936 Iris Edna at 150 Hampton road; 1937 - 1943 with Iris at Holyoake; 1943 listed as a gentleman at 20 Healy street, South Fremantle; 1949 inmate, Sunset Home for Men, Nedlands. 1949 Iris with daughter in law Queenie at 256 South street, South Fremantle; 1958 - 1963 Iris at 26 Healy street, South Fremantle. Iris died 6 Jun 1968 aged 77.

Son Harold married Queenie L Baker in 1935.


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