Framed letter to Lieutenant L A Harris from General Sir William Birdwood

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Aisne
Accession Number REL33750
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Glass, Paper, Wood
Maker Birdwood, William Riddell
E.S. Wigg & Son Ltd
Date made 26 June 1917
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Framed letter to Lieutenant Harris from General Sir William Birdwood congratulating him on the award of the Military Cross. A piece of Military Cross ribbon is attached to the upper left corner. The letter reads '1st Anzac Corps, 26th June, 1917. Dear Harris, This is a line to congratulate you very heartily on the award to you of the Military Cross, which you have fully earned by your conspicuous gallantry and ability during the operations in the Hindenburg Line on the 3rd May. I know with what determination and dash you led your two bombing attacks, and although wounded early in the assault, you refused to be relieved. Your action, too, in carrying back a badly wounded officer, on leaving the line, notwithstanding your own wound, is to be commended, and I am glad to have this opportunity of thanking you for your good work. I trust that your wound has not proved severe, and that you are going along satisfactorily. With good wishes. Yours sincerely, [signed] W.R.Bridwood.'. There is a makers label on the back of the frame for 'E.S. WIGG & SON LTD.'.

History / Summary

323 Private Lawrie (also spelt Laurie) Arthur Harris enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) on 18 February 1915 and joined B Company, 27 Battalion. He served on the Gallipoli Peninsula where he was promoted to Lance Corporal shortly before the Australian's withdrawal in December. In March 1916 he embarked for France and in August was promoted to company quartermaster sergeant. In October 1916 he was posted to No. 4 Officers Cadet Battalion in Oxford, England for officer training. Upon graduation he was promoted to second lieutenant and returned to France in February 1917 where he joined 28 Battalion.

On 3 May Harris was wounded during fighting on the Hindenburg Line and was awarded the Military Cross for his actions on this day. The recommendation reads 'For conspicuous gallantry and coolness in leading two bombing attacks on O.G.2. in the HINDENBURG LINE, East of BULLECOURT on the 3rd May 1917. Although wounded earlier he went on. His example helped greatly to keep the men going when almost exhausted. When leaving the line and although wounded himself, he carried out on his back a brother Officer who was badly wounded.'.

He was promoted to lieutenant on 27 May. Harris was wounded again on 4 October receiving a gunshot wound to his left leg. He was evacuated to England for treatment and rejoined his unit in France in January 1918. Harris returned to Australia and his commission was terminated on 11 April 1919.