Raymond Harold Hanretty
From Our Contribution
Western Mail 27 Sep 1918 page 19
photo Linton Reynolds 2015
|Date of Birth||not known 1894|
|Place of Birth||Rockingham, Western Australia|
|Death||31 May 1918|
|Place of Death||Villers-Bretonneux area|
|Age at Enlistment||21 years, 6 months|
5'6½" (1.69m) tall ; 136 lbs|
61.689 kg; dark complexion ; brown eyes ; dark brown hair
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Mardella, via Mundijong, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Brother , Mr Francis John Hanretty|
|Date of Enlistment||28 Dec 1915|
|Unit/Formation||44th Battalion, A Company / 11th Brigade, 3rd Division|
|Date of Embarkation||6 Jun 1916 ‒ 21 Jul 1916|
|Ship Embarked On||HMAT A29 Suevic|
Wounded in Action 2 Jun 1917 Messines area |
Killed in Action 31 May 1918 Villers-Bretonneux area
Serpentine Roll of Honour |
Australian War Memorial
British War Medal |
In 1901 the family were living in Mundijong.
Following a month's general training Raymond was allocated to A Company of the newly formed 44th Battalion (Joint WA/SA unit), and he proceeded with them to England.
The 44th Battalion proceeded overseas to France through Southampton on 25 Nov 1916, entering Le Havre harbour at 6:30 am the following day.
On 23 Mar 1917 Raymond was charged with "Failing to appear at the place of parade appointed by his Commanding Officer on 22 Mar 1917. Found guilty and awarded 5 days Field Punishment No 1., and he forfeited 26 shillings ($2.60)
Wounded in Action on 4 Jun 1917. On that day the battalion had provided men for two raiding parties on the enemy's trenches with the objective of gaining intelligence and if possible a prisoner or two. Both parties were led by an officer and 20 men. It was recorded that 4 prisoners were captured who provided much useful information, and heavy casualties were inflicted on the enemy. The cost to the Australians was 22 killed and 8 wounded, with Raymond one of the wounded. (Casualty rate of 30 of the 42 who participated was not commented on.)
Attended to by the 12th Australian Field Ambulance for a gunshot wound to his right shoulder and eye, he was able to rejoin his unit on 14 Jun 1917.
Casualty List - Wounded R.H. Hanretty
Raymond was next hospitalised from 24 Oct 1917 until 9 Dec 1917, with the 10th Stationary Hospital in St Omer before being discharged to the 3rd Division's Base Depot in Rouelles. He rejoined the 44th Battalion on 21 Dec 1917 in the Bois-Grenier sector of the line.Killed in Action on 31 May 1918. The 44th Battalion's War Diary entry for 31 May 1918 reads...
Weather as yesterday (warm and clear, sky cloudless; wind N & NE). Nothing to report.Fortunately Neville Browning's Book "The Westralian Battalion" contains additional detail of the circumstances of Raymond's death
"On May 30th, the German artillery shelled the support lines incessantly in an attempt to silence a battery in the vicinity which necessitated two platoons from 'D' Company to move to the adjacent railway cutting. Enemy activity was active again on May 31st and two men were killed in the barrage: they were Corporal W.J. Wilson and Private R.H. Hanretty."
Originally buried in the Petit Blangy British Cemetery, he was later removed to the Villers-Bretonneux Cemetery.
Buried in Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery Plot X, Row a, Grave No. 9
- Sunday Times 8 Jul 1917
- 'The Westralian Battalion - The Unit History of the 44th Battalion A.I.F., Neville Browning, Advance Press, 2004, pages 298 & 299