The AIF Project

Harry Heywoood COOMBE

Date of birth10 October 1890
Place of birthGawler, South Australia
SchoolGawler Public School, South Australia
ReligionMethodist
OccupationMechanical engineer
AddressGoodwood, South Australia
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation36
Next of kinWife, Mrs M F Coombe, Alexander Avenue, Goodwood, South Australia
Enlistment date1 October 1916
Rank on enlistment2nd Lieutenant
Unit nameSpecial Draft, AIF Officers
AWM Embarkation Roll number34/13/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A71 Nestor on 28 February 1918
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board RMS Ormonde on 7 March 1918
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board RMS Ormonde on 13 March 1918
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll10th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 23 August 1918
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
58
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Ephraim Henry and Sarah Fraser COOMBE; husband of Margaret F. COOMBE, Corinda Avenue, North Kensington, Park, Adelaide
Family/military connectionsBrothers: Lt Samuel Walter COOMBE, 10th Bn, returned to Australia, 5 April 1918; 1208 Pte Ernest John Hiscock, 1st Light Horse, returned to Australia, 17 July 1916.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Print format