CLARKE, Harrie
(Service number 3204)

Aliases Birth registered Harry CLARKE
First Rank Private Last Rank Lance-corporal


Date *1889 Place of Birth Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Enlistment Information

Date 18 January 1916 Age 26 years 2 months
Address at Enlistment Chinchilla, Queensland
Occupation Factory manager
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Frederick William CLARKE (father), Timaru (Resident Engineer), Timaru, New Zealand
Religion Church of England
Medical Information Height 5 feet 7 inches. Weight 142 lbs. Chest measurement 35 inches. Complexion fair. Eyes grey. Hair brown. Free from scrofula; phthisis; syphilis; impaired constitution; defective intelligence; defects of vision, voice or hearing; hernia; haemorrhoids, varicose veins, beyond a limited extent; marked varicocele with unusually pendent testicle; inveterate cutaneous disease; chronic ulcers; traces of corporal punishment, or evidence of having been marked with the letters D. or B.C.; contracted or deformed chest; abnormal curbature of spine; or any other disease or physical defect calculated to unfit him for the duties of a soldier. Can see the required distance with either eye. Heart & lungs healthy. Free use of joints & limbs. Not subject to fits of any description. Fit for Active Service.

Military Service

Served with Australian Imperial Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 7th Reinforcements
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 31st Battalion
Date 4 May 1916
Transport Sean Choong
Embarked From Brisbane Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With 31st Battalion

Military Awards

Campaigns Western European
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date 5 September 1919 Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

4 July 1916 - admitted to No. 2 A. S. Hospital at Tel-el-Kebir – diarrhoea; 8 August 1916 - admitted to hospital at Marseilles - influenza.

Post-war Occupations

Factory manager


Date 11 February 1960 Age
Place of Death Queensland, Australia
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Harry Clarke and his twin sister were born in 1889 at Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, Harry being the second son of William Frederick and Ann Davis (née Carter) Clarke. Frederick, a native of New South Wales, married Ann on 23 December 1885, at Stony Creek, New South Wales. They had five children, two of them dying young. Ann herself died of tuberculosis on 25 November 1893 at Newtown. Their father married for a second time, in 1901 in New South Wales, to Mary Boyd. Their son, Cecil, was born in 1902, coming with his parents to Timaru, New Zealand, where his sister Mary was born in 1915. Mr Frederick William Clarke, of Perth, was appointed resident engineer of the Timaru Harbour Board and took up his duties on 2 April 1908. In January 1912 Mr Clarke met with a serious accident at the Harbour Board Quarry. He made good progress towards recovery, although his broken leg had to be set twice. The following year Mrs Clarke, Frederick’s second wife, had a holiday in Australia.

He enlisted as Harrie Clarke, using that spelling thereafter, on 18 January 1916 at Toowoomba, Queensland, aged 26 years 3 months. He swore that “I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lord the King in the Australian Imperial Force from 18. 1. 16 until the end of the War, and a further period of four months thereafter unless sooner lawfully discharged, dismissed, or removed therefrom; and that I will resist His Majesty’s enemies and cause His Majesty’s peace to be kept and maintained; and that I will in all matters appertaining to my service, faithfully discharge my duty according to law.” He nominated as next-of-kin his father – Frederick William Clarke, Timaru (Resident Engineer). A factory manager, single and of Church of England affiliation, he resided at Chinchilla, Queensland. He was one of the 25 country volunteers who were accepted from the 34 who presented themselves to the Toowoomba recruiting officer.

Harrie was 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighed 142 pounds, and had a chest measurement of 35 inches. His complexion was fair, his eyes grey, and his hair brown. He had good vision and hearing; was free of diseases and physical defects; his heart and lungs were healthy; and he had free use of his joints and limbs. Thus he was fit for Active Service. Ranked a private, Harrie was posted to posted to the 31st Battalion of the 7th Reinforcement. Private H. Clarke embarked at Brisbane on 4 May 1916 on board the “Seang Choon”, disembarking at Suez on 15 June. Less than a month later, on 4 July 1916, he was admitted to the No. 2 Australian Stationary Hospital at Tel-el-Kebir, suffering from diarrhoea. Two days later he was discharged to duty.

Harrie proceeded overseas from Alexandria per the “Franconia” on 2 August 1916, only to be admitted to hospital at Marseilles on 8 August, with influenza. Nine days elapsed before he was discharged to duty and could march in at Etaples. He was taken on Strength and joined the 31st Battalion (A.I.F.) of the 7th Reinforcement on 15 September 1916 in the Field. On 13 January 1917 he was appointed lance-corporal, and, having spent two weeks at the 5th Army Rest Camp mid-year and two weeks leave in the UK in September, was promoted to temporary corporal on 1 October in place of a wounded corporal who had been evacuated. In early January 1918 he reverted to lance-corporal to “conform to establishment” (“owing to excess over establishment”). At the end of the month he was detached for duty with the 8th Brigade Headquarters Works Unit, rejoining his battalion three weeks later. Two weeks at Army Musketry School followed in March 1918 and a period of leave in the UK in October. From 29 December 1918 there was a three month detachment with the Divisional Education Officer, Harrie rejoining is Unit in March 1919.

He embarked for England at Le Havre on 9 April 1919, disembarking at Southampton the next day and marching into No. 2 Convalescent Depot at Weymouth, fortunately in much better shape than his brother Frank over two years earlier. Harrie Clarke returned to Australia, leaving from Liverpool on 22 May 1919 per the “Durham”, and reaching home on 22 July. On his return, he was medically assessed as fit and recommended for discharge. Lance-corporal H. Clarke, of the 31st Battalion, was discharged on 5 September 1919 at Sydney. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

The manager of the Chinchilla Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd wrote on 30 May 1918, enquiring if No. 3204 Harrie Clarke was still alive in France, as he hadn’t heard from him for 12 months and used to hear every mail one time. On 28 June he was able to write, thanking the Officer in Charge at Base Records, Melbourne, for his prompt reply. The Officer had been able to give a favourable reply – that H. Clarke had been promoted to temporary corporal on 1 October 1917 – and provide an address for mail – No. 3204, Temp/Corporal H. Clarke, 31st Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, Abroad.

Good news came for Mr F. W. Clarke, Timaru, in September 1919, when his two sons, Harry and Frank, who had been on active service with the Australian Forces, visited their father in Avenue Road. His brother Frank had also served with the Australian Forces in World War I. Frederick died at Timaru in 1945, predeceased by his second wife. Harrie Clarke married Winifred Elizabeth Forsythe in 1924 at Grafton, New South Wales. For many years Harrie and Winifred lived in New South Wales, where Harrie continued his employment as a factory manager. In the late 1950s they moved to Queensland. There Harrie died on 11 February 1960 and Winifred on 13 June 1976.


Attestation Paper for Australian Imperial Force (National Archives of Australia) [08 January 2020]; Australia BDM Indexes (NSW; QLD) [24 March 2014; 08 January 2020]; Australian Electoral Rolls ( [09 January 2020]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [24 March 2014]; Timaru Herald, 11 & 27 January 1912, 19 July 1913, 20 September 1919 (Papers Past) [14 June 2019; 08 January 2020]; The Brisbane Courier, QLD, 19 January 1916 (Trove) [10 January 2020]; Australian Commonwealth Military Forces ( [10 January 2020]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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