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08 October 2009

Lance Corporal Harold Thorp

Photo: AWM P07116.001
Harold Thorp was the son of John Henry Thorp of Blackwood. He was born at Glanville near Port Adelaide on 7 May 1885, attended Coromandel Valley Public School and worked as a labourer before the war.

He enlisted at Morphettville on 16 September 1914 at the age of 29, and joined the 16th Battalion under regimental number 1334. He joined his unit on Gallipoli in late May 1915. He was shot in the buttock on 25 August 1915, after evacuation to hospital on Malta he recovered and re-joined his unit on 30 December 1915 in Egypt. He arrived in France with his unit in early June 1916 at which time the 4th Brigade became part of the 4th Division. In early August 1916, the 16th Battalion endured a massive artillery bombardment then defeated a German counter-attack at Pozieres. Harold was promoted to Lance Corporal on 5 September 1916, and after a five week stint in hospital returned to his unit in February 1917.

On 11 April 1917, the 16th Battalion took part in the First Battle of Bullecourt, a hastily planned attack which resulted in disaster, with over 3,300 casualties and over 1,170 Australians taken prisoner. Harold Thorp, who was part of 12th Platoon, Cork Company, 16th Battalion was reported missing in action, but it was later determined that he had been killed in action on that day. As he was initially reported missing and as his body was never found, his name is on the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, along with many other Australians with no known grave.

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