Harold Ross

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Harold Ross
Ross Harold.jpg
Portion of Engineers panel at Menin Gate memorial
Personal Information
Date of Birth 23 Oct 1888
Place of Birth Hastings, Victoria
Death 8 Jun 1917
Place of Death Ploegsteert Wood, Belgium
Age at Enlistment 28 years, 2 months
Description 5'7¾" (1.72m) tall ; 128 lbs
58.06 kg
; dark complexion ; hazel eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Labourer
Religion Church of England
Address NOK Jarrahdale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Sister (twin) , Mrs Grace Sykes
Military Information
Reg Number 14576
Date of Enlistment 18 Dec 1915
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 10th Field Company, Engineers
Date of Embarkation 11 Jul 1916 ‒ 9 Sep 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A44 Vestalia
Fate Killed in Action 8 Jun 1917 Messines
Monument Jarrahdale War Memorial
Menin Gate Memorial
Australian War Memorial Is on the Australian War Memorial under the name Harold Nielson
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

War Service

Harold enlisted in Perth, entering Blackboy Hill camp on 18 Dec 1915. On 6 Jan 1916 Harold was allocated to the Miners, and sent to the Engineers' Depot at Moore Park for specialised training and to travel with them to England.

While in England preparing to go to France, Harold had some run ins with military discipline. On 3 Dec 1916 he was charged with being absent from a Church Parade held on 26 Nov 1916. For this he was awarded 24 hours detention! Rather draconian treatment by comparison with man other more severe offences committed by the troops overseas.

Soon after, on 17 Dec 1916 at the Engineer training Depot at Brightlingsea, Harold was found guilty of: 1) Neglect of duty; and 2) AWOL from 11:45 on 11 Dec 1916 to 8:00am on 12 Dec 1916. This time he was awarded 168 hours (7 days) detention, with forfeiture of 12 days pay.

Not yet prepared to bend to military discipline, on 8 Jan 1917 he was found guilty of being AWOL from 9:30 on New Years Eve , until he surrendered at 10:00am on 5 Jan 1917. This time he received 7 days Field Punishment No.2, with a total of 15 days forfeiture of pay.

Next, Harold reported ill and was sent to Colchester Hospital on 19 Feb 1917, remaining there until 21 Mar 1917 when he reported back to the Engineers Training Depot.

On 29 Mar 1917 Harold proceeded overseas from Folkestone, and after a few days in the Base Depot at Étaples, was taken on strength by the 10th Field Company on 9 Apr 1917. Before he had more than settled in he was off to hospital again on 1 May 1917 via the 3/2nd Lancashire Field Ambulance who passed him on next day to the 7th General Hospital at St Omer where he was treated for mumps.

Discharged from the 7th General Hospital on 20 May 1917, he rejoined his unit 3 days later. On 8 Jun 1917 Harold was initially reported to have been wounded in action. However, on 30 Jun 1917, his status was changed from WIA to Killed in action on 8 Jun 1917.

Newspaper reports that Sapper Harold Ross from Jarrahdale has been previously reported to be seriously ill, but in fact had been wounded for a third time.[1] This seems to be at odds with the facts as he was a casualty of hostile acts on only one occassion - when he was deemed to have been KIA.

  • Menin Gate Memorial - L Reynolds 2015 photo


On file there is a letter from his niece June Sykes dated 13 Jan 1960 that implies that he had originally enlisted in WA with the 10th Light Horse Regiment under his birth name of Harold Neilson. Ross was apparently his mother's maiden name.

  1. Kalgoorlie Sun 15 Jul 1917 p.3

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