The AIF Project

Harold ANDREASSEN

Regimental number3563
Date of birth5 April 1893
Place of birthPort Douglas, Queensland
SchoolState School
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationFarmer
AddressMowbray River, Port Douglas, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Next of kinFather, Severin Berner Andreassen, Mowbray River, Port Douglas, Queensland
Previous military serviceNil (previously rejected for enlistment on account of fever)
Enlistment date4 November 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name4th Pioneer Battalion, Reinforcement 9
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/16/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A33 Ayrshire on 24 January 1917
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularRollestone Camp, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England
FateDied of wounds 18 September 1917
Place of death or woundingSalisbury Plain
Age at death24
Place of burialDurrington Cemetery (Grave No. 255), Wiltshire, England
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
103
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: S and Mary ANDREASSEN, Port Douglas, North Queensland
Other details

War service: England

Embarked from Sydney, 24 January 1917; disembarked Devonport, England, 12 April 1917, and marched into Pioneer Training Bn, Fovant. Transferred to 7th Training Bn (25th Bn), Rollestone, 11 July 1917.

Found guilty of being absent without leave, 6 am-midnight, 3 September 1917: awarded forfeiture of 2 days' pay; total forfeiture: 3 days' pay.

Fatally wounded, 18 September 1917. Court of Inquiry held at Camp 13, Rollestone, 18 September 1917, found that Pte Andreassen sustained a wound to the right wrist, almost severing the hand from the arm, and a wound beneath the right collarbone. 'The Court finds that Pte Andreassen was injured through the discharge of a live cartirdge fired by the Lewis Gun used for instruction & has since died of the injury'. (Captain E.EV. Neill, Court President.) Captain J. Gray, RMO, 7th Training Bn, gave evidence: 'Shortly after 10 a.m. 18.9.17, I was called from the Medical Hut to attend to a Private who was reported to have been wounded by a bullet from a Lewis Gun in one of the huts. On arrival at the hut I found a private, whom I since found to be No. 3563A Pte Andreason [sic] H., lying on the floor. He was completely collapsed and bleeding freely from a wound about an inch in diameter in the right chest high up. He also had a wound in the right wrist, almost severing his hand from his arm. He died 3 to 4 minutes after my arrival.' Lt Colonel F. Forbes concluded: 'I am of the opinion that this accident was caused by a live round becoming mixed with the nickel dummies, which were being used for demonstration purposes & that sufficient care was not taken by the Lewis Gun Officer Lieut. William Harrison and 447 Cpl Howard Phillips to ensure that no more live rounds were among the said dummies.'

Mr S.B. Andreassen (father) wrote to Base Records, 23 January 1918, asking for a copy of the evidence given at the Court of Inquiry, 'would it be against the rules'. ' ... I understand Lieutenant Harrison was under arrest, rightly so, but it appears to me that it was not a pure accident ... and a strict inquiry ought to be held ... to find out if a practical joke was not played on Harrison the Officer in charge who may suffer unjustly. Although being the direct cause of Private H. Andreassen's death and nearly bagged two more, the more I think the more I am convinced there is something behind it all. If the lad had died on the battlefield it would have been some satisfaction, now there is none. Trusting you will inquire further into the matter and oblige a sorrowing father.'

Medal: British War Medal