Harry Alfred Curtis

From Our Contribution

Harry Alfred Curtis
Curtis Harry Alfred.jpg
Taken from 1934 Armadale AFL team photo
Curtis Harry Alfred 1.jpg
Personal Information
Date of Birth 10 Oct 1909
Place of Birth Jarrahdale, Western Australia
Death 30 Aug 1989, aged 79
Place of Death Carlisle, Western Australia
Age at Enlistment 31 years, 7 months
Description 6'0" (1.83m) tall ; ; fair complexion ; brown eyes ; dark hair ; scars on left thigh and underside of leg
Occupation timber worker
Religion Church of England
Address Albany road, Bedfordale, Western Australia
Next of Kin Wife , Mrs Hilda Clara Curtis
Military Information
Reg Number WX12170
Date of Enlistment 2 May 1941
Rank Lance Corporal
Unit/Formation 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion
Military Movement
1st Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 7 Sep 1941 ‒ 23 Sep 1941
Transport Details HMT Queen Mary Fremantle to Egypt
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 24 Jan 1943 ‒ 18 Feb 1943
Transport Details HMT Queen Mary Suez to Fremantle
2nd Departure from Australia
Journey Dates 7 Aug 1943 ‒ 10 Aug 1943
Transport Details USAT Charles P. Steinmetz Cairns to Milne Bay, New Guinea
Return to Australia
Journey Dates 31 Jan 1944 ‒ 7 Feb 1944
Transport Details USAT Andrew D. White Finschhafen to Townsville
Post War Details
Fate Returned to Australia
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Pre War

Electoral Roll entries: 1936 - 1943 Albany road, Bedfordale, timber mill hand;

War Service

Harry enlisted in the 2nd AIF on 2 May 1941 at Claremont and was sent to join the No 1 Training Battalion. On 7 May 1941 as a member of the 8th reinforcement draft for the 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion, he was sent on pre-embarkation leave, returning on 12 May 1941. On 21 May Harry was promoted Acting Corporal and the next day appointed acting Lance Sergeant, and then on 3 Sep 1941 promoted Acting Sergeant. He embarked in Fremantle on 9 Sep 1941 aboard HMT Queen Mary, part of Convoy US 12A, and he disembarked in Egypt on 23 Sep 1941, reverting to Private. On 6 Nov 1941 he was posted to the 2/32nd Australian Infantry Battalion.

On 24 Nov 1941 Harry was admitted to the 2/1st Australian General Hospital with diarrhoea, returning to the 24th Australian Infantry Training Battalion on 31 Dec 1941. He returned to the 2/32nd battalion on 21 Feb 1942. Harry was promoted Acting Corporal on 26 Jul 1942, but on 18 Sep 1942 reverted to Private at his own request. On 24 Jan 1943 the battalion embarked on HMT Queen Mary in Suez for Australia via Massawa and the Maldive Islands, with the Western Australian troops disembarking in Fremantle on 18 Feb 1943.

Harry was admitted to the 2/6th Australian General Hospital on 29 Apr 1943 with Scabies, receiving treatment until 15 May when he was released to his unit. On 7 Aug 1943 Harry and his unit embarked aboard USAT Charles P. Steinmetz in Cairns for Milne Bay where they disembarked on 10 Aug 1943. On 24 Sep 1943 Harry was appointed Lance Corporal before being admitted to the 2/3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Station on 23 Oct 1943 with Cellulitis to the left leg. Harry was transferred to the 2/5th Australian General Hospital on 26 October, and then on 17 Nov 1943 to the 113th Australian Convalescent Depot. Harry was released back to duty on 11 Dec 1943, and was back with the 2/32rd Battalion on 22 Dec 1943. The battalion embarked on USAT Andrew D. White at Finschhafen on 31 Jan 1944 for Townsville where they disembarked on 7 Feb 1944.

Granted home leave in Western Australia from 19 Feb 1944, but on 9 Mar 1944 he was admitted to the 110th Australian Base Hospital at Hollywood with Malaria. He was transferred the same day to 118th Australian General Hospital at Northam until 29 Mar 1944 after which he resumed his leave. However, during the time he was in Hospital, he was AWOL from 9:30 pm until 10:15pm on 17 Mar 1944 and for wearing the wrong uniform he was charged with Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military Discipline. He was Severely Reprimanded. Soon after he returned to South Australia, he was admitted to the 105th Australian Military Hospital with Malaria, before being released on 20 May 1944. However, on 25 May 1944 he was readmitted to hospital with Malaria, this time to the 121st Australian General Hospital who released him on 9 Jun 1944. On 16 Jun 1944 he was posted as AWOL, and on the 21st a Warrant for his arrest was issued. On 15 Jul 1944 he was declared to be an Illegal Absentee. On 13 Sep 1944 Harry returned to the Army and on 19 Sep 1944 a District Court Martial was held at Keswick Barracks - Harry was charged with being AWOL from 10:40pm on 14 Jun 1944 until 7:30pm on 11 Sep 1944. Harry was found to be guilty and was sentenced to 130 days detention in the 9th Australian Detention Barracks. He also automatically forfeited another 89 days pay.

Harry was released from custody on 22 Nov 1944 with his sentence suspended, regaining pay for 65 days. On 29 Nov 1944 Harry was entrained for Western Australia to join the Discharge Section of Western Command Recruit Reception & General Details Depot. Harry was discharged on 8 Dec 1944.

Post War

Married Mary Fitzgerald (1916-1990), son Murray Charles Curtis (1953-1979).

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 at 24 Saleham street, Victoria Park, timber hand; 1954 - 1958 at 47 Beatty avenue, Victoria Park with Mary; 1963 - 1980 at 9 Archer street, Carlisle, timber worker.


A brother Stanley Gordon Curtis lost his life in Rabaul where he was serving with the 2/1st Independent Company. One brother Clarence Albert Curtis served with the RAAF, and another Kenneth Roy Curtis with the RAN, while his younger sister Mona served with the RAAF. His uncle Albert Cecil Clarence Curtis and Albert's daughter Joyce Curtis also served in Australia during wartime.

External Links