7356 Private Gilbert Harding WIA DOW
3rd Infantry Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1stDivision
1st Australian Imperial Force 1914-1919

This file last updated 6 September, 2018 18:29

Introduction

Private Gilbert Harding
Photograph from Australian War Memorial
www.awm.gov.au/collection/R163656

The following information and chronological table are a summary of the entries from the World War One service record of Gilbert Harding.

This record is remarkably sparse up to the date of his death. As an older man, he could be expected to be more stable than his younger companions, and this is evidenced by lack of disciplinary or medical events.

Note that some of the service record pages are duplicated - this often occurs when the unit and Army records are amalgamated on the finalisation of service.

Service numbers were allocated by unit, and are not unique to the individual.

Prepared for Tony Strong by Clive Mitchell-Taylor, 6 Sep 2018.

View Gilbert Harding's Service Record, Embarkation Record, . Commonwealth War Grave Report, or Casualty Certificate.


Enlistment Details

Service Number

7356

Name

Gilbert Harding

Born at

Paramatta, County of Cumberland, NSW

Age

36 years and 7 months as at 3 Feb 1917 [as at enlistment date, - birth dates not actually recorded]

Trade or Calling

Orchardist

Apprentice

No

British Subject

Natural Born

Marital status

Married

Next of Kin

Wife - Edith Harding, Kanwal via Wyong, NSW

Ever convicted by the Civil Power

No

Previous Military Service

No

Ever rejected as unfit for Service

No

Discharged with Ignomony

No

Attested at

Sydney, NSW

Date of Enlistment

3 Feb 1917

Height

5 foot 8½ inches [174 cm]

Weight

146 pounds [66.4 Kg]

Chest

38-40 inches [96.5 - 101.5 cm]

Complexion

Fair

Eyes

Blue

Hair

Fair

Religious Denomination

C of E

Distinguishing marks

Scar right knee, scar left knee, Mole left shoulder
Moles (2) below left shoulder blade,Moles (2) above buttocks (left)

Units

24th Reinforcements to 3rd Battalion


Chronological Events

Rank Description Date Remarks

Recruit

Initial assessment and allocation

19 Mar 1917 -
21 Mar 1917

At Royal Agricultural Show Ground, Sydney

Private

Recruit Training at Ingleburn
Allotted to G Company, 1st Infantry Depot Battalion

21 Mar 1917 -
14 Apr 17

 :

Private

Allocated to 24th Reinforcements to 3rd Infantry Battalion

14 Apr 1917

 

Private

Embarked at Melbourne, Victoria per HMAT "CLAN MACGILLIVRAY" (A46) with 24/3 Battalion as Private

10 May 1917

Her Majesty's Army Transport (HMAT)

Private

Disembarked Plymouth, UK

28 Jul 1917

 

Private

Marched in to 1st Training Battalion, Durrington, England

28 Jul 1917

 

Private

Proceeded overseas to France from Southampton

20 Nov 1917

Private

Marched in to 1st Australian Division Base Depot (1 ADBD)

21 Nov 1917

 

Private

Marched out to unit

23 Nov 1917

 

Private

Taken onto strength of 3rd Battalion from Reinforcements

26 Nov 1917

 

Private

Wounded in Action (WIA), shrapnel wounds to legs, arm and head
Admitted to 3rd Field Ambulance
Transferred to 53rd Casualty Clearing Station

14 Aug 1918

Shrapnel wound are generally inflicted by High Explosive Anti-Personel artillery shells or grenades (bombs). There are no reports of close combat involving grenades on the day, and the cause is later confirmed to be an artillery shell.

 

3rd Battalion Commander's Diary for 14 Aug 1918

Day fine. Visibility good. Our patrols were active. LT J.R. BAIRD - C Coy and 3 men whilst reconnoitering old trenches at H2D1 came upon a party of 20 of the enemy who were talking together at the entrance of a dug-out. One of the [enemy] party was shot and bombs thrown amongst the remainder. Heavy enemy MG2 fire was brought to bear on our patrol which was forced to return to our own lines. It is not known how many of the enemy party was killed by bomb though it is thought a good many as the target presented to bomb was quite a good one. At 6:30pm LT E. HANKSHAW and 10 men patrolled from S2D88 to S2D98.03 and found evidence of recent enemy occupation.

Our Artillery was only moderately active. Aeroplanes were active as were those of the enemy. Enemy planes were able to patrol well into our own sector before being engaged by our own AA3 Batteries whilst our planes were engaged by enemy AA fire before crosssing our own front line. Our MG and sniper were active. MGs dispersed an enemy wiring party. An enemy relief is suspected to have taken place5.
Casualties   7    Strength of Battalion forward6
Officers 24     Other Ranks,4 ?10 [either 310 or 510]
Strength of Bn7   30 Officers 634 OR

14 Aug 1918

1.  Coded map reference
2.  Machine Gun
3.  Anti-Aircraft
4.  Other Ranks or OR, all ranks other than commissioned officers.
5.  The enemy activity esp in wiring and reconnoitre indicates that the enemy unit facing the Battalion may have been relieved and replaced by a different unit.
6.  Forward - that element of the Battalion in the front lines.
7.  Including both forward and rear elements.

Private

Died of Wounds (DOW) received in action, at 53rd Casualty Clearing Station (53 CCS)

15 Aug 1918


Rank Description Date Remarks

Private

CERTIFICATE OF WILL

No.        7356
Rank.    Private
Unit.      3rd Battn.
My will is lodged with Mrs. Edith Harding, Kanwal, Via Wyong. N.S.W.

Verified by W. Simpson   Lieut.
               O.C. B Coy Battn.1
               C.O. (Unit)2
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Certified to be a true copy of the Cert. of Will of No. 7356
Pte. G. Harding, 3rd Battalion, lodged with the Officer in
Charge, Base Records, upon embarkation for Active Service
Abroad.

[Signed and checked by various officers]

Undated

1. O.C. - Officer Commanding a Company or sub-unit (generally Major below)
2. C.O. - Officer Commanding a Battalion-sized unit (Lieutenant Colonel or above)

Private

Company Conduct Sheet shows no charges or notations of any sort.

Undated

 

Private

Medical History Sheet shows vaccinations only, with no illness or injury notations of any sort.

Undated

 

 

Despatch Note from AIF Kit Store, Hammersmith London recording the consignment of one sealed parcel containing 1 Purse, 2 Coins, 2 Letters, Photos and Cards, the effects of 7356 Private G Harding, to his wife.

16 Sep 1918

 

Private

WILL
____

My will is lodged with my wife :-
   Mrs. Edith Harding.      Kanual,[sic]       Via Wyong,
    New South Wales.
          Australia

Signature. Gilbert Harding.
Rank and Unit. Private. No. 7356, 3rd Battalion, A.I.F.

Date. 26/8/17 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Certified to be a true copy of the Location of Will extracted from Pay book of No. 7356 Pte. HARDING, Gilbert 3rd., Btn., (Dec'd) Original forward to D.P.M. 2nd M.D1

[Signed and checked by various officers]

7 Oct 1918

1. Deputy Pay Master, 2nd Military District (NSW)

Private

Letter from Public Trustee, Sydney to Officer in Charge, Base Records

Sir,

Re No.7356 GILBERT HARDING, 3rd. Batn., decd

I shall be obliged if you will furnish me with -
1. Certificate in duplicate relating to the death of the abovenamed deceased soldier.
2. The address of the deceased prior to enlistment.
3. The name and address of the person nominated as his next of kin.

Yours obediently

1 Nov 1918

 

Private

Cable to The Public Trustee, Sydney most likely from OC Base Records, providing the address of Pte Harding prior to enlistment and noting that the next of kin, his wife, Mrs. E. Harding resides at that address.

18 Nov 1918

Evidently this response did not reach the Public Trustee

Private

Letter from Public Trustee, Sydney to Officer in Charge, Base Records

Sir,

Re No.7356 GILBERT HARDING, 3rd. Batn., decd

I shall be obliged if you will furnish me with -
1. Certificate in duplicate relating to the death of the abovenamed deceased soldier.
2. The address of the deceased prior to enlistment.
3. The name and address of the person nominated as his next of kin.
Yours obediently

20 Dec 1918

An exact copy of the text in the 1 Nov 18 letter.


Rank Description Date Remarks

Private

Cable from Officer Commanding Base Records to Public Trustee, Sydney

Confirming the death of 7356 Private Gilbert Harding from wounds received in action At the 53rd Casualty Clearing Station on 15th August 1918 and referencing Cable C.I.B.L. 2778 from Commandant, A.I.F. Headquarters, dated London, 21st August, 1918, confirmed by Mail from the Commandant A.I.F. Headquarters, dated London, 26th August, 1918.

3 Jan 1918

 

 

Letter from Edith Harding to Officer in Command, Base Records, Victoria Barracks, Melbourne

Dear Sir,

I have been waiting for some time now thinking I may get some news of my husband, from a mate, he was reported died of wounds on August 15th 1918 at the 53rd casualty clearing station [sic]. My husband had some little keepsakes for myself and family if they are with his personal belongings and kit I would very much love to have them, and with your help in time I hope I shall receive them. I am,

Yours Faithfully,

3 Feb 1919

 

Letter from Officer in Charge, Base Records to Mrs Edith Harding

Dear Madam,

I have to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 3rd instant, and to state no information other than that already communicated to you has been received at this office concerning the regretable death of your husband, the late No. 7356, Private G. Harding, 3rd Battalion, but it is anticipated that official confirmatory documents which should come to hand very shortly will contain fuller details and these will be promptly communicated to you.

No personal effects have been returned to this office to date, but any articles coming to hand will be trasmitted in accordance with the terms of his Will.

The late soldier made a statement to the effects he had executed a Will and lodged same with you. I shall be much obliged if you will forward same, or Probate, if taken out, to this office at your earliest convenience, so that the provisions set out therein may be noted for compliance when dealing with the deceased's affairs.

If Probate has been granted, the document will be passed to the Military Paymaster, Victoria Barracks, Sydney, N.S.W. for notification and transmission to you.

If Probate or Letters of Administration have not been taken out, and the Will is not required for this or any other purpose in connection with the distribution of the estate it will be passed to the Military Paymaster above referred to by whom it will be held as his authority for the payment of monies - should it be required by you for further action, it will be returned after notation.

Yours faithfully,

8 Feb 1919

The last sentence in this letter has a Gunning Fog Index (readability level) of 28.6, where 17 is said to be the level of readability achieved by a University graduate, while professional prose almost never exceeds 18.

Private

Letter from Edith Harding to the Officer in Charge, Base Records with a [reference] number 85412 in the top left corner.

Dear Sir,

I have to acknowledge your letter of the 8th of February, and to state that owing to some delay in getting the death certificate of my husband, the late No. 7356, Private G. Hardding, 3rd Battalion, Probate has not yet been granted, and the Will and all other documents are at The Public Trust Office [sic] Culwalla Chambers, 67 Castlereigh Streeet, Sydney, N.S.W.. I am waiting now for word any day to say that things are fixed up. Trusting to hear of any other information.

Yours faithfully,

3 Mar 1919

 

Private

Letter from Officer in Charge of Base Records to Public Trustee, Box No 7, G.P.O. SYDNEY, N.S.W.

Dear Sir,

As you are administering the estate of the late No.7356 Private G. Harding, 3rd Battalion, I am forward per separate post one packate D/S 42135 containing the late soldier's effects as per attached inventory, for favour of disbursement.

Kindly acknowledge receipt of same by signing and returning the attached receipt form.

Yours faithfully,

10 Mar 1919

See later entry which is the signed receipt.


Rank Description Date Remarks

Private

Letter from Officer in Charge, Base Records, to Edith Harding

Dear Madam,

With reference to the regrettable loss of your husband, the late No. 7356 Privat G. Harding, 3rd Battalion, I am now in receipt of advice which shows that he was wounded in action in France on 14th August 1918, and admitted to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, suffering from shell wound legs, arm and head. He was then transferred to 53rd Casualty Clearing Statin, France, where he died on 15th August, 1918, as the resut of his wounds. He was buried in Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, two and three-quarter miles west of Corbie, the same day, and Chaplain the Rev. F.B. Thurlow (attached 53rd Casualty Clearing Stations) officiated.

The utmost care and attention is being devoted, where possible, to the graves of our fallen soldiers. It is understood photgraphs are being taken as soon as practicable for transmission to next-of-kin.

These additional details are furnished, by direction, it being the policy of the Department to forward all information received in connection with deaths of members of the Australian Imperial Force.

Yours faithfully

16 May 1919

 

 

A misfiled coded telegram concerning the injuries and illnesses of a number of soldiers follows in the file. The name of Gilbert Harding is not among those mentioned.

Undated

 

Private

An undated page from the Graves Registration Unit gives the location of the grave of Private Harding, among others.

Undated

 

 

An undated portion of Page 2 of a Legatee or Next-of-Kin Report in reference to a number of deceased soldiers, Gilbert Harding not being among them.

Undated

 

 

An undated cryptic handwritten note
"Usual Covering letter with [indecypherable] to The Public Trustee, Sydney, NSW"

Undated

 

Private

Signed Consignment Note being a receipt to Officer in Charge, Base Records, Victoria Barracks, Melbourne from the Public Trustee, for one package, effects of Pte Harding despatched on "SARDINIA", D/S 42133.

14 Oct 1919

 

Private

Letter from Mrs Edith Harding to Officer in Charge, Base Records, Victoria Barracks, Melbourne

Dear Sir,

I wish to thank you for the two Photographs of my late husband's grave, No, 7356 Private G. Harding 3rd Battalion. I am very pleased to have them.

Yours faithfully

10 Mar 1920

The file contains an undated slip "Extract from folder of photo of grave. Buried Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, 2&3/4frac; miles W of Corbie."

Private

Letter from Wyong RSL to Officer In Charge, Medals Branch, Victoria Barracks

Dear Sir,

Are the Victory Medals available for men who embarked 1917. If so, kindly forward to Mrs G. Harding (Kanwal) via Wyong, wife of deceased soldier Pte G. Harding 7356, 3rd Batt.

Yours Faithfully,
Oliver A Pearce
Hon Sec
Wyong Sub Branch RSS&AILA1

[inserted]Mrs Edith Harding name and addresss

 

5 Jan 1922

1. Returned Soldiers, Sailors and Airman Imperial League of Australia [later to become the RSL]

Private

Receipt for Memorial Scroll and King's Message signed by Edith Harding

8 Dec 1922

 

Private

Receipt for Memorial Plaque signed by Edith Harding

24 Nov 1922

 
Rank Description Date Remarks

Private

Receipt for Victory Medal signed by Edith Harding

16 Feb 1923

 

Private

Letter from Officer Commanding Base Records Office, Melbourne to Mrs Harding

Dear Madam,

At the request of the Imperial War Graves Commission, I am forwarding herewith a Circular order form relative the purchase of the Register of the DAOURS COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION, wherein the remains of your husband, the Late No. 7356 Private G. HARDING, 3rd Battalion, are interred.

For your further information it is desired to add that the site of the late soldier's final resting place is now officially registered as:-

Plot 4. Row B. Grave 33

Yours faithfully,

15 May 1924

 


Medals and Dress Embellishments Awarded

British War Medal 1914-1920 (below, left) Victory Medal (below, right),
one Wound Stripe for 14 Aug 1914, one Long Service Stripe, and one Overseas Service Chevron.
Use the hyperlinks or scroll down to see further information on the badges.


Other Accoutrements

British War Medal Victory Medal

Unit Shoulder Patch
3rd Infantry Battalion

3<sup>rd</sup> Battalion Shoulder Patch

Not entitled to wear
ANZAC 'A' on Shoulder Patch
ANZAC A

Rising Sun Badge - 1st and 2nd AIF


Some Government Issued Badges

Nearest Female
Relative Badge

War Widows
Guild Brooch

Silver War Badge
 

Discharged Returned
Soldier Badge

Government issued badge in enamel
and sterling silver issued to the wife,
mother or nearest female relative of
a serving soldier. Additional bars
were suspended below for further
individuals.

Membership badge of a Kookaburra
in sterling silver, issued by the
Government to the widows of men
who lost their lives due to their
service. Numbered on the reverse.

Awarded to service personnel who
sustained a wound, or contracted
sickness of disability in the course
of the war as a result of which
they were invalided out, or to
soldiers who had retired during
the course of the war.

First issued in 1916. Slight variations are indicative of a number of makers. 267,300 were issued. Numbered on the reverse but the numbers have no link with length of service or Service Number.

[Badge information collated from Australian War Memorial, "Australians Awarded" by Clive Johnson and en.wikipedia.com]


Background - Infantry Battalions

[Based on information at www.aif.adfa.edu.au]

The 1914 infantry battalion was a large unit, composed of eight rifle companies each of 3 officers and 116 other ranks armed with Short Magazine Lee-Enfield .303in rifles, a small headquarters with 4 officers and 21 other ranks and a machine gun section with two .303in Maxim machine guns, one officer and 17 other ranks, a total of 32 officers and 991 other ranks.

In December 1914, battalions were reorganised into four companies each of four platoons, but strength was unchanged.

By mid 1918, the number of officers had increased to 38 but the number of other ranks had declined to 900. At the same time, the firepower of the battalion was greatly augmented with hand and rifle grenades and Lewis Guns, of which there was 34 per battalion.

[Based on information at www.aif.adfa.edu.au and Redcoats to Cams, Ian Kuring]


3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Brigade, 1st Division AIF

Information from Australian War Memorial

The 3rd Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the AIF during the First World War. Like the 1st, 2nd and 4th Battalions it was recruited from New South Wales and, together with these battalions, formed the 1st Brigade.

The battalion was raised within a fortnight of the declaration of war in August 1914 and embarked just two months later. After a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving on 2 December. The battalion took part in the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 as part of the second and third waves and served there until the evacuation in December. In August, the battalion took part in the attack on Lone Pine. For his valorous action in defending Sasse's Sap at Lone Pine on 9 August, Private John Hamilton was awarded the Victoria Cross.

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the battalion returned to Egypt. In March 1916, it sailed for France and the Western Front. From then until 1918 the battalion took part in operations against the German Army, principally in the Somme Valley in France and around Ypres in Belgium. The battalion's first major action in France was at Pozieres in the Somme valley in July 1916. Later the battalion fought at Ypres, in Flanders, before returning to the Somme for winter.

The battalion participated in a short period of mobile operations following the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in early 1917, but spent much of that year fighting in increasingly difficult conditions around Ypres. 3rd Battalion returned briefly to the Somme (Amiens) in April 1918, but returned north to Strazeele which was also under threat of being captured by the Germans. The 3rd Bn remained in this sector and took part in several operations in the area during June and July 1918. The battalion was then sent back to the Somme on 6 August and two days later took part in the Battle of Amiens, which German General Erich Ludendorff described as "the black day of the German Army in this war".

The battalion continued operations to late September 1918. At 11 am on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent. The November armistice was followed by the peace treaty of Versailles signed on 28 June 1919.

Between November 1918 and May 1919 the men of the 3rd Battalion returned to Australia for demobilisation and discharge.


The ANZAC 'A'

The brass letter 'A' to represent service related to Gallipoli (ANZAC) was authorised to be worn 'over unit colour patches on both sleeves of the service dress jacket and greatcoat" by Military Order 354 of 18 Aug 17 and AIF Order 937 of 6 Nov 17, as amended in terms of qualification by Military Order 20 of 19 Jan 18 and by AIF Order 1084 of 25 Jan 18.

The size of the letter 'A', introduced as one inch in height (AIF Order 994 of 30 Nov 17), was reduced to three-quarters of an inch by AIF Order 1012 of 11 Dec 17.

Provision for wearing the brass letter 'A' was also included in General Routine Order 0.815 of 17 Dec 43 and GRO 310 of 7 Dec 45.

ANZAC 'A'


Wound Stripe

Army Order No.204 Headquarters, 1st A.N.Z.A.C., 9th August, 1916. (slightly amended for layout)
DISTINCTIONS FOR OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS WHO HAVE BEEN WOUNDED

Wound Stripes

The following distinction in dress will be worn on the service dress jacket by all officers and soldiers who have been wounded in any of the campaigns since 4th August 1914 :

  • Stripes of gold Russia braid No.1, two inches [2.5cm] in length sewn perpendicularly on the left forearm sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion on which wounded.

  • In the case of officers, the lower end of the first strip of gold braid will be immediately above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men will wear the gold braid on the left forearm sleeve, the lower edge of the braid to be three inches from the bottom of the sleeve.

  • Subsequent occasions on which wounded, will be placed on either side of the original one at half inch interval.

  • Gold braid and sews will be obtained free on indent from the Army Ordnance Department; the sewing on will be carried out regimentally without expense to the public.


Long Service Badges

A.I.F. ORDER No.470, 24 January 1917 (slightly amended for layout)

The question of the issue of a badge to members of the AIF who have completed a certain period of service has received consideration, and approval has been given for the issue of a badge for long service combined with good conduct, subject to the following conditions.

  • The badge will consist of an inverted single chevron of service braid to be worn on the left forearm - the point of the chevron to be 3 inches [7.6cm] above the edge of the cuff.

  • Warrant and non-commissioned officers and men, will be eligible for the badge, which will not carry an increased pay or allowance.

  • One chevron will be worn for each complete year's service in the Australian Imperial Force from the date of embarkation in Australia.

  • No badge will be issued to any man who, during the 12 months, has incurred a regimental entry (i.e. an entry involving forfeiture of pay) in his sheet.

  • Time absent from the unit in hospital or elsewhere on account of wounds or sickness, not the result of misconduct, will count as service towards earning the badge.

  • A man in possession of a badge will forfeit same on being convicted of any offence involving a forfeiture of pay , but will be eligible to regain the badge after 6 months good conduct, from the date of forfeiture.

  • The illegal wearing of this badge will be a crime under A.A. Section 40.


Overseas Service Chevrons

[Image from http://www.diggerhistory.info]

Australian Imperial Force Order No.1053, January 1918 (Slightly amended for layout)

His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of chevrons to denote service overseas since the 4th August 1914.

  • Chevrons of two colours have been approved.

    • The first chevron if earned on or before 31st December 1914, will be red.

    • If earned on or after 1st January 1915, it will be blue.

    • All additional chevrons after the first will be blue.

  • The chevrons will be worsted embroidery, 1/4 inch [0.63cm] in width, the arms 4 inches [10.2cm] long. They will be worn inverted on the right forearm:

  • In the case of officers, the apex of the lowest chevron will be 1 inch [2.5cm] above the upper point of the flap on the cuff.

  • In the case of warrant-officers, non-commissioned officers and men, the apex of the lowest chevron will be midway between the seams and four inches [10.2cm] above the bottom edge of the sleeve.

  • The red chevron will be worn below the blue one. They will not be worn on greatcoats.

  • In the case of Australians, the first chevron was earned the date the individual left Australia. Additional chevrons were awarded for each successive aggregate period of 12 months service outside Australia.

[http://au.geocities.com/fortysecondbattalion/level2/reference/01nos-standards.htm]