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Lance Corporal Harry Linklater, 18th Battalion, A.I.F.

 

(A short Biography by Brian Budge)

 

 

Harry was born on the small Orkney island of Graemsay on the 20th January 1890, registered at birth as Henry.  His parents, George Linklater and Mary Linklater (née Thomson), farmed 36 acres at Fillets and employed a farm servant and dairymaid.  Harry had an older sister, Alice, and younger sister, Catherine, also three older brothers, James, John and Joseph. 

Harry’s mother had been a dressmaker before she married, which probably influenced him to train as a draper in George Thomson’s shop in Stromness.  Harry also served 4 years in the Stromness Company of the Orkney Royal Garrison Artillery (Territorial Force).  When aged 23, Harry followed his brother James and travelled out to Sydney, Australia.  Harry was employed as a draper in Sydney’s largest and most diverse department store, Anthony Hordern and Sons’ New Palace Emporium.  In 1905 the company replaced a store destroyed by fire in 1901 with a building that occupied an entire city block and employed about 3,000 people.

Harry enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on the 27th February 1915, 18th Battalion, 5th Brigade formed at Liverpool, New South Wales on the 1st March. When the 18th Battalion left Sydney on HMAT A40 "Ceramic" on the 28th June, Harry held the rank of Lance Corporal and had trained as a signaller. He spent only a short time in Egypt, embarked for Gallipoli on the 16th August. The 18th and 19th Battalions came ashore at Anzac cove on the night of the 19th, as the first two units of the Australian 2nd Division, and they spent a day near the foot of the Sphinx.

The last offensive to drive the Turks off the Sari Bair heights had already failed in the face of fierce resistance and overwhelming counter–attacks, when the 5th Brigade concentrated below Walker’s Ridge.  Anzac troops were still on the offensive, to connect the north of their beachhead to a new British landing site at Sulva. After fierce fighting on the 21st August, Anzac and British troops had gained only a couple of footholds on Hill 60, at heavy cost.

Harry was posted missing on the 22nd August. A court of enquiry, held at Tel el Kebir in Egypt after the Gallipoli evacuation, found it reasonable to suppose Harry Linklater was killed in action on the 22nd August 1915. A signaller friend, Arthur Hall, reported that during the charge on Hill 60, he passed Harry lying on the ground. Harry seemed to have been hit on the left side of the head and appeared dead.  Harry is commemorated on Panel 60 of the Lone Pine Memorial in Gallipoli, but he is probably one of the 712 unidentified burials in Hill 60 Cemetery.  Harry Linklater’s photo at the top of this page is taken from a montage Honour Board that commemorates 46 of the 48 employees of the Sydney department store Anthony Hordern and Sons Ltd., who died serving in the First World War.

 

Lone Pine Memorial

 

 

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