William Harwood

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William Harwood
Harwood William 2.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth c 1888
Place of Birth Littleburn, Durham County, England
Death 14 Oct 1917
Place of Death Passchendaele, Flanders, Belgium
Age at Enlistment 27 years, 9 months
Description 5'5¼" (1.66m) tall ; 155lbs
70.307 kg
; fresh complexion ; grey eyes ; brown hair
Occupation Miner
Religion None
Address Sleetburn Poultry Farm, Nicholson road, Canning Vale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Mother , Mrs Maria Harwood
Military Information
Reg Number 4810
Date of Enlistment 20 Dec 1915
Rank Corporal
Unit/Formation 11th Battalion, 15th Reinforcement, transferred to 51st Battalion, 13th Platoon, C Company
Date of Embarkation 1 Apr 1916 ‒ 25 Apr 1916
Ship Embarked On HMAT A38 Ulysses
Fate Killed in Action 14 Oct 1917 Passchendaele
Monument none as yet
Australian War Memorial
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

William was born in March 1888 at Littleburn, in the coal-mining area of county Durham England. He was one of five boys and two girls. Prior to emigrating to Australia William worked with his father and brothers as a miner at the Brancepeth Colliery.[1] In 1912, he and a younger brother migrated to Perth and purchased ten acres at Canning Vale. Aged 24, and described as a farm hand on the ship's manifesto when he arrived in Australia with his 21 year old brother Matthew. They had sailed from London on 30 Aug 1912 aboard the Orient Line's SS Orvieto. He worked as a sleeper cutter, but the call of mining was so strong that by the outbreak of World War 1 he had worked at Greenbushes, Bullfinch, Kalgoorlie and Sandstone.

War Service

Entered Blackboy Hill camp on 20 Dec 1915 and on 28 Feb 1916 was allocated to the 15th reinforcement draft for the 11th Battalion. Bill travelled with them to Egypt, entering through Alexandria. On 7 Jun 1916 he embarked on HMT Huntspill in Alexandria for Marseilles in France, where they arrived on 14 Jun 1916, with Bill being sent to the 4th Division Base Depot to await allocation to a unit.

In France on 20 May 1916, Bill was transferred to the 51st Battalion as a Lewis Gunner. On 6 Aug 1916 he was congratulated by his Divisional Commander on having achieved satisfactory results on a Lewis Gun course. Appointed Lance Corporal on 18 Aug 1916, and on 2 Apr 1917 he was promoted Corporal to replace his colleague Cpl Buck who had been KIA that day.

Red Cross File held at the AWM includes: [1]

Killed in Action 14-10-1917
"He was near me at Passchendaele on above date, and I was told , his head was blown off. Sgt Beaumont of the 51st came over about 2 months ago to take his course at OTC, was with him at the time, and collected his papers etc. so I feel sure he can furnish full particulars." 28444 Cpl F Webber D Coy 51st Bn.

"I personally buried him where he was killed on the field, and marked his last resting place as best I possibly could and I gave his Mother and his next of kin the Map reference of his grave." Cadet CA Beaumont C Company No 6 OCS, Worcester College, Oxford.

"On 14 Oct 1917 at Passchendaele, Cpl Bill Haywood, of the 13th Platoon, was in an outpost in front of our front line. In the afternoon a German shell burst in this outpost, killing Cpl Haywood instantly. I was in the outpost and about 10 yards (9 metres) from him and saw his remains...."1980 Pte FJ McCallum
  • Passchendaele New British Cemetery
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bill's mother Mrs Maria Harwood received a pension of £2/12/3d ($5.22) per fortnight from 1 Jan 1918.

Award Comment

Recommended for a Mention in Despatches by his Co, and endorsed by his Brigade Commander and Divisional Commander. It would appear that for whatever reason, the recommendation was not accepted, or not published.

A Lewis Gun NCO who has led his Section bravely. He has shown determination and initiative in difficult circumstances and has always set a good example to his men under fire. Period 28 Feb 1917 to 20 Sep 1917.[2]


His younger brother 4810 Private Matthew Harwood was WIA and returned to Australia on medical grounds. Not on either the Gosnells or Canning Memorials. Adress given was that of his sister Mrs E Wilkinson who was the executor of his estate.

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