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Henry Hales


Serial No:
Serial No. 6924

17th Battalion


Henry Hales - Information

Henry was born in Minto in 1890 to William and Maria Hales. He grew up in the area before his family moved to the North Coast of NSW. When the war commenced, Henry was supporting himself as a farmer and living near the Nambeccar River. He had watched his two younger brothers, Thomas and Edward, enlist in 1915. On the 24th of March 1917, Henry followed suit and joined the AIF in Kempsey. He trained with the machine gun reinforcements, before being posted to the 20th Reinforcements, 17th Battalion.

Henry’s unit departed Sydney on the 16th of June 1917 aboard the HMAT Beltana. Arriving in Plymouth, he was marched into the 5th Training Battalion at Rollestone. After they were prepared for the conditions on the Western Front, his unit was shipped to France in December 1917. The following month, Henry had joined the 17th Battalion in the lines. The intense fighting following the German Spring Offensive and the conditions in the trenches began to take its toll. In May, he reported sick to hospital and returned to his unit at the end of August. Unfortunately, he was soon wounded in action. On the 3rd of October, Henry received multiple gunshot wounds, hit in the head, both lower legs, left thigh and buttock. After initial treatment, he was evacuated to England on the 16th of October and admitted to hospital in Birmingham. By February 1919, Henry was able to travel, and was released for his trip home to Australia in April.

When Henry returned home, the gun shot wound to his buttock was still being treated, and he was experiencing paralysis of the flexor muscles in his foot. Henry then settled in Macksville where his brother Edward was living. During the Second World War, Henry decided to enlist in the army again in 1942, at the age of 52. He served with the Volunteer Detachment Corps Headquarters and was discharged at the end of 1943. Henry passed away in Macksville in 1966.