A letter from Lt E D La Touche to Jack Harris mother

Historical note: 

On 16 June 1915, Jack Harris boarded a troopship in Sydney Harbour and set sail for Egypt with the 6th batch of volunteers sent to reinforce the 2nd Battalion AIF. Leading the 6th Reinforcements was 32-year-old Lieutenant Everard Digges La Touche.

In camp outside Cairo, Harris and the other volunteers became mates and trained for war, all the while struggling to acclimatise in the July heat. Harris’ experience as a cadet and enthusiasm was quickly recognised and he was promoted to lance corporal. As plans for the Lone Pine attack took shape on map tables on Gallipoli, La Touche, Harris and 136 other reinforcements sailed from Alexandria to join their battalion at Anzac Cove. During the sea passage to Gallipoli, La Touche took time to write to Harris’ mother:

In the Mediterranean

My Dear Madam
Your son, L/Cpl Harris, is with me & I shall try to keep him with me throughout the campaign. He is a gallant little chap with the greatest of military virtues – faithfulness – and as such is of very great assistance to his officers. If he had a few years more to his credit, he would make a fine officer. Meanwhile he is doing his duty without a thought of self and will serve his country as an Australian gentleman should.

I will try to keep him with me and to see after him as far as I can. Otherwise my power is very limited; but we are both in God’s hands & He doeth all things well.

Yours sincerely
ED La Touche

Materials: 
papers
Category: 
Diaries and personal papers
Themes: 
Personal story
Conflict: 
First World War
Location: 
the Mediterranean
Story: 
Jack Harris
Production Date: 
1915

On this day

On this day
26 March

1917 — First Battle of GAZA began. This was the first Allied attempt to capture this major Turkish centre 32km inside the border of PALESTINE. Two Australian Light Horse Brigades, the ANZAC Mounted Division, and the Imperial Camel Corps were involved in the battle

1917 — CAPT P. CHERRY, a GALLIPOLI veteran, won a Victoria Cross at LAGNICOURT, France. Despite facing strong opposition, Cherry organised machine-gun and bombing parties to progress his company’s attack after all of the Officers became casualties. He was killed during this action. The Victoria Cross and the Military Medal he had won earlier were presented posthumously. There were 1010 Australian casualties, including 300 taken prisoner in this battle