Matthew Harwood

From Our Contribution

Matthew Harwood
Harwood Matthew.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 8 Jan 1891
Place of Birth Littleburn, Durhamshire, England
Death 26 Jun 1965, aged 74
Age at Enlistment 24 years, 7 months
Description 5'6" (1.68m) tall ; 147lbs
66.678 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Miner
Religion Church of England
Address Nicholson road, Canning Vale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Mother , Mrs Maria Harwood
Military Information
Reg Number 3915
Date of Enlistment 23 Aug 1915
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 16th Battalion, 12th Reinforcement
Date of Embarkation 22 Dec 1915 ‒ ?? Jan 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A31 Ajana
Date of Return 31 Oct 1917 ‒ 22 Dec 1917
Ship Returned On HMAT A35 Berrima
Fate Wounded in Action 12 Aug 1916 Poziéres
Returned to Australia
Monument Gosnells Road Board Honour Roll
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

On 30 Aug 1912 Matthew sailed from London for Fremantle aboard the Orient Line's SS Orvieto with his older brother William, arriving in Fremantle on 1 Oct 1912.

Electoral Roll entry: 1915 Jarrahwood, timber hewer.

War Service

Entered Blackboy Hill camp on 23 Aug 1915 and following some brief training he was allocated to the 12th reinforcement draft for the 16th Battalion on 16 Oct 1915. Matthew travelled with them to Egypt where he was taken on strength of the 16th Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir on 7 Mar 1916. On 1 Jun 1916 the battalion embarked on the HMT Canada in Alexandria for Marseilles in France where they arrived on 7 Jun 1916.

Boarding a train, their rail journey terminated at Bailleul on 10 Jun 1916, and they were left to sort themselves out until 20 Jun 1916 when they began to familiarise themselves with the front lines which they entered for the first time at Bois Grenier between 27 Jun and 10 Jul 1916. On 13 Jul 1916 they were moved by train further south to join those unis involved in the 'Big Push' up the Somme valley. On 4 Aug 1916 they moved forward from Warloy to the Brickfields near Albert. On 7 Aug 1916 they occupied Wire Trench where they remained until they moved into the front line at 7:00pm on 9 Aug 1916.

As part of the attack on Poziéres, the 16th Battalion was to attack Circular Trench north of the town which they achieved despite strong opposition. Given the strategic nature of their position they then were to endure an horrific bombardment by the enemy, and although they took further territory the following early morning they faced a strong enemy counter attack during the afternoon of 11 Aug 1916. This attack was beaten off and Australian artillery ensured no further counter attack could be made. The enemy again bombarded them fiercely on the morning of 12 Aug 1916 as they were being relieved by the 50th Battalion. The ferocity of the enemy barrages was the fiercest faced by the Australians for many months to come. Matthew received shrapnel wounds to his left thigh and face on 12 Aug 1916, possibly during the hand over to the 50th Battalion. Treated by the 13th Field Ambulance and then the 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station the same day he was transferred by Ambulance Train 47 to Boulogne.

Matthew was embarked on HMHS Brighton at Calais on 1 Sep 1916 for England with bomb wounds to his thigh and face. On arrival he was admitted to the 2nd Western General Hospital in Manchester. Released on 20 Oct 1916 to No.2 Command Depot in Weymouth, he remained there until he was admitted to the Wareham Military Hospital on 13 Nov 1916. On 26 Jan 1917 he was released to No.4 Command Depot from the Wareham Military Hospital.

On 23 Mar 1917 Matthew was transferred to the 70th Battalion at Wareham before proceeding overseas to France through Folkestone on 29 Apr 1917 having been transferred back to the 16th Battalion. He rejoined his unit on 3 May 1917, but on 10 Jun 1917 he was unwell and hospitalised. On 17 Jul 1917 he was referred to a Medical Board at the 4th Division's Base Depot at Le Havre. He rejoined the battalion again briefly on 27 Jul 1917 before reporting sick to hospital again on 14 Aug 1917.

On 27 Aug 1917 Matthew embarked on HMHS St David for England, and later that day he was admitted to the 4th London General Hospital with Epilepsy. On 20 Sep 1917 he was released to the 1st Australian Auxiliary Hospital and on 3 Oct 1917 was transferred to the Command Depot at Weymouth for return to Australia. Returned to Australia on medical grounds, having suffered epilepsy after suffering a head wound. Discharged at the 5th Military District on 16 Jan 1918.

Matthew was awarded a pension of 60/- ($6) per fortnight from 17 Jan 1918.

Post War

In 1919 Matthew married Gladys Lilian Hooper (b. 4 Oct 1897). Son William (1921- 2008).

On 12 Sep 1957 Matthew and Lilian sailed from England on the Shaw Savill Line ship, the SS Southern Cross for Fremantle. At the time their address was 1079 Albany Highway St James.


Brother 4810 Cpl William Harwood, 51st Battalion was KIA 14 Oct 1917

External Links