Harold Percival Fletcher
Serial No. 3044
2nd Battalion & 54th Battalion
Harold Percival Fletcher - Information
The Fletchers resided in Camden in the late 1880s. Harold’s father William Fletcher migrated to the NSW Colony from England and married Jessie Sarah Wickham in Narrabri in 1877. William and Jessie eventually settled in Camden, where Harold was born in 1885. Sadly, William passed away in Camden on the 14th of March 1910 and was buried at St John’s. The Fletchers then moved to the city, Jessie relocated to Woodlands St in Balgowlah near Manly. While Harold and his younger brother, Walter, moved in with their sister Lilian, and her husband Harry Derriman, at 35 Calder Rd in Redfern. Harold supported himself as a mercer, and later watched Walter enlist in the AIF. Harold then also joined up, signing on in Liverpool on the 14th of July 1915. During training, Harold was posted as a Private to the 10th Reinforcements, 2nd Battalion. He then departed Sydney Harbour on the 8th of October 1915 onboard the HMAT Warilda.
Harold was later transferred to the 54th Battalion in February 1916 at Tel-el-Kebir Camp in Egypt. Harold and his new unit were presently transported to the Western Front in France. After a quiet introduction into trench warfare, the 54th Battalion as part of the 5th Division, were positioned for the Battle of Fromelles. The attack was designed to occupy German troops from reinforcing the Somme Sector. Fromelles commenced on the 19th of July, however, soon proved to be a disaster. Half the unit became casualties, as consistent heavy fire left many men stuck in No Man’s Land. This included Harold who received a bullet wound to his right hand, and was captured at Fleurbaix by German troops between the 19th and 20th July. In August, he was transported by Hospital Train to a German hospital for treatment. In October, he was transferred to Dulmen I in Westfriedrichsfeld, to Friedrichsfeld bei Wessel, and then to Tonget in Gottingen. In April 1917, when POW Lists reached the Red Cross, the Fletchers were informed that Harold was thankfully still alive and now interred as a prisoner. Harold endured his captivity, and was repatriated to England in April 1918. On the 14th of April, he was admitted to King George’s Hospital. The bullet wound to his hand still required treatment, and he had permanent damage to a finger. Due to this injury and the time he spent as a POW, he was sent back to Australia on the 31st of July 1918. He was discharged after the war ended in December and reunited with his family.