Sullivan: Harold

Born in Coromandel Valley on 3rd September 1886, Harold was the younger son of William and Harriet Sullivan.

After attending Coromandel Valley Public School, Harold worked as an orchardist before enlisting in the 9th Light Horse Regiment at Morphettville, South Australia on 10th September 1914. It must have been a frightening time for William and Harriet, as Harold’s older brother Herbert, born 1878, enlisted in Western Australia in September the following year.

As No. 72 Light Horseman, Harold was 5’10” (178cm) tall, weighed 13 stone (180lbs or approx. 82kg), had grey eyes, light brown hair and was a member of the Church of England.

Harold had spent five years in the Light Horse Militia prior to enlisting and was quickly promoted to Sergeant before departing for overseas service on 12th February 1915, arriving in Egypt a month later. He saw action at Gallipoli and was mentioned in dispatches by Sir Ian Hamilton on 22nd September year.

Whilst at Gallipoli, Harold became ill with dysentery, was hospitalised on 31st August and later transferred to London to recover. After rejoining his regiment in 1916, Harold took part in further actions against the Turks in Palestine. He was later reported Missing in Action, believed captured by the Turks on the 19th August 1916 in the Canal Zone, near Kalia.

Following his capture, Harold and other prisoners were in December taken to Angora, Turkey. His possessions had been returned to his family a month or so earlier.

News of Harold’s death, aged 30yrs, as a Prisoner-of-War (PoW) on 11th February 1917 was forwarded to the Australian Forces. It is thought that he died from Chronic Enteritis or Typhus brought on by marching through snow in scant clothing during the winter of 1916-17. He was buried in the vicinity of Angora, Turkey.

Evidence about his death whilst a PoW is contained in a letter written on 29th January 1919 by ex PoW Tpr G Robert. That correspondence also listed other PoWs, who were known to Robert and who had died in captivity.

Harold Sullivan’s name is listed on a memorial erected in 1928 at the North Gate War Cemetery, Baghdad, but he has no known individual grave. The names of 258 deceased PoWs are listed on this monument, amongst them Percy George Scroop of Cherry Gardens who was also 9th Light Horseman.

Harold's photograph was included on the Honour Roll of the Coromandel Valley Methodist Church, which is now on display at the Blackwood RSL clubrooms.


Researched by Geoff Lock, 2015