The AIF Project

Harold George ROURKE

Regimental number3242
Place of birthSingleton, New South Wales
SchoolSingleton Grammar School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
AddressAugalonga Flats, Musgrove Street, Mosman, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation33
Height5' 9.5"
Weight154 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs E Rourke, Bourke Street, Singleton, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date28 August 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll28 June 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name20th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/37/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A29 Suevic on 20 December 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll56th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 July 1916
Place of death or woundingFleurbaix, France
Age at death33
Age at death from cemetery records33
Place of burialAnzac Cemetery (Plot I, Row D, Grave 4), Sailly-Sur-La-Lys, France
Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Henry and Amy ROURKE; husband of Mary ROURKE, Bourke Street, Singleton, New South Wales
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Allotted to, and proceeded to 56th Bn from 5th Training Bn, Zeitoun, 16 February 1916; taken on strength of 56th Bn, 16 February 1916.

Admitted to No 14 Field Ambulance, 12 March 1916 (not yet diagnosed); discharged and rejoined unit, 19 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 29 June 1916.

Promoted Corporal, 20 July 1916.

Killed in action, 20 July 1916.

Buried at Sailly-sur-la-Lys Cemetery by Reverend W.M. Holliday, 20 July 1916.

Statement, Red Cross File No 2370103, 5347 Pte H. CHAPERLIN, 56th Bn (patient, Colmore Road Hospital, King's Heath, Birmingham, England), 2 January 1917: 'Informant states that on July 20th. 1916 at Fromelles Cpl. Rourke was killed together with about 4 others. They were in a dug out and a high explosvie shell fell in it killing them all. I saw Cpl. Rourke's body afterwards. He would be buried either in the rear of the support lines used on this occasion between Brompton Avenue and Pinney's Avenue or still further in the rear.'

Second statement, 4942 Pte R.A.E. WATSON, D Company, 56th Bn, 23 January 1917: 'I saw him killed in the support trenches at Fromelles on July 19th. by a shell. His body was buried in the cemetery about a mile away with some others. I have not seen the grave.'

Third statement, 2905 Lance Corporal H.L. SHANNON, D Company, 56th Bn (patient, Lewisham Military Hospital, London, England), no date: 'Rouke was killed by a shell at Fromelles. I am quite certain it was this man. 8 were killed next to me with one shell and I have never seen him since.'

Fourth statement, 2853 Sergeant A. BARCLAY, D Company, 56th Bn, 26 January 1917: 'From my personal knowledge he was killed in action on the morning of the 20.7.16[;] he was hit on the spine with a piece of bursting shell and was killed instantly, he is buried in the British Cemetery on the Estairs (sic) Road.'

Fifth statement, 4733 Pte H.E. BATES, 56th Bn (patient, 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth, England). no date: 'Informant states that on the night of 19-20th. July at Fleurelles (sic) near Fleurbaix during an attack, Rourke was killed instantly. the body was taken back to be uried at Sailly Cemetery near Lestaire (sic) or L'Esterre (sic).'

Sixth statement, 2916 Pte T. JACK, D Company, 56th Bn (patient, No 4 Australian General Hospital, Randwick), 18 January 1917: 'Rourke was hit at Fleurbaix on the 20th July; didn't see him hit, but saw him a few minutes after he went down. He was killed in the traverse, a little distance away from me.'

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, ROURKE Harold George
Red Cross file 2370103

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