Harold Louis Duck
Serial No. 2891
56th Battalion & 20th Battalion
Harold Louis Duck - Information
When Harold enlisted in the AIF, he was living in Minto and working as a dairyman. Born in Picton, Harold remained in the area, while his family later relocated to Lennox St in Mosman. Harold joined up on the 25th of May 1916 at the Royal Showground Camp, aged 22. He trained at Cootamundra, and in September was assigned to B Company 7th Reinforcements, 56th Battalion as a Private. He boarded the HMAT Ascanius in Sydney on the 25th of October 1916 for war service.
Harold disembarked in Devonport at the end of December. In late February 1917, after further instruction, he departed Folkestone for France. He was stationed to the 2nd Australian Division Base Depot, before joining the 20th Battalion in the lines in March as the Germans withdrew to the Hindenburg Line. His new unit then participated in action during the Second Battle of Bullecourt. The men were astounded by the intensity of firepower, running into barbed wire and fortified concrete blockhouses. On the 3rd of May, Harold was struck in his right thigh by a bullet. He was rushed by the 5th Field Ambulance to the 6th General Hospital in Rouen. In mid May, he was evacuated from Boulogne to the Devonport Military Hospital in England. It was a severe injury and it took some time for him to recover. Unfortunately, his return to active duty was stifled when he contracted syphilis. He reported to the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital in Bulford in late August for treatment. In November, he was transported to the Western Front to his unit. He endured a harsh winter, before the Allies were hit with the intense German Spring Offensive, beginning with Operation Michael on the 21st of March. The Germans attacked in large numbers along the frontline breaching the stalemate. The British troops rapidly retreated, and the Australian Corps were brought up to halt the advance. They counter-attacked in various places, with the 20th Battalion engaging the Germans at Hangard Wood. The 20th Battalion then helped to turn the tide for the Allies with their own offensive, during the Battles of Amiens and Mont St Quentin in August. The Germans began to fall back, seeking the safety of the Hindenburg Line. As the German Army was struggling, Harold and his unit attacked at Montbrehain in October. The war was soon over. Harold remained with his unit until he was sent home on the Militiades on the 19th of June 1919.