Harry Thorpe


Rank: Corporal

Service Number: 5459

Units Served: 7th Battalion

Personal Details: Harry Thorpe was born in October 1887 at Orbost, Victoria. He was the son of William and Lilian Thorpe. He was married to Julia.

Enlistment Details: He enlisted at Sale on the 12th of February 1916. At the time he was 5’9” tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. He identified as a member of the Anglican Church. 

Details about his role in War: Harry embarked from Melbourne aboard the “Euripides” on the 4th April 1916 arriving in Egypt on the 12th May. He then left Egypt aboard the “Tunisian” on the 28th May and disembarked at Marseilles on the 4th June. He then travelled to Etaples where he underwent further training before being sent to join the 7th battalion in the field. He was taken on strength by 7th Battalion on the 28th July. In early August the battalion was behind the lines, training and rebuilding after heavy fighting during the “Battle of Pozieres”. During this time the 2nd Brigade including Harry’s battalion was inspected by King George V of England. Later in te moth the battalion returned to Pozieres where it occupied trench lines near the Windmill. On the 19th Harry was hit by shrapnel in the leg and sent to hospital. After being treated for his wound, he was then treated for an ingrown toenail. 
He returned to the battalion near Dernancourt on the 12th November but returned to hospital with a painful shoulder on the 5th December, joining the battalion again on the 29th December. On the 10th January, 1917 he was promoted to Lance-Corporal. 
On the 29th April, he was once again wounded by shrapnel, this time in the shoulder. He re-joined the battalion on the 20th May, but returned to hospital on the 13th June with injured ribs. As the battalion was involved in a divisional sports carnival, it is likely that this injury was sustained on the field of play rather than the battlefield. 
It was the 31st August before he returned again to his battalion. He was granted leave from the 13th until the 25th September. 
Harry was promoted to Corporal on the 5th of October 1917 and was awarded the Military Medal for courage during the battle of Broodseinde Ridge.
“Near YPRES on 4/5th October, 1917, L/Cpl. THORPE displayed great courage and initiative in mopping up enemy dugouts and pill boxes. In the capture of Battalion objective, he was conspicuous for his courage and leadership, handling his men with skill and materially assisting his Company Commander. By his splendid example and disregard of all danger he inspired those under him.” ' Source: ‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 31.
Harry remained with the battalion during the winter of 1917 / 18, mostly spent in the mud of Flanders. During March and April of 1918, the battalion was actively involved in holding back the German Spring Offensive in the area in front of Amiens. On the 2nd July, Harry was sent to XV Corps School, possibly for officer training. He returned to his battalion on the 16th July.
On the 8th August, under the command of General John Monash, the British Army, spearheaded by the Australian Army Corps, launched an attack south of the Somme to push the German Army back across the country it had gained in the spring. The 7th Battalion entered the battle on the 9th August near the village of Harbonnieres. During the fighting that day Harry was wounded, dying of his wounds later that day. He was one of 152 members of the 7th Battalion to pay the ultimate sacrifice on that day.

Age at Death: 31

Memorial Details: Heath Cemetery IV.J.15

Commemorated by


Storm Grierson

2nd December 2008