George Harris was born in Lambeth, England, in 1895. He served with the British army in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. It is not clear when he came to Australia but he was 19 years old and working as a labourer when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in Sydney on 22 January 1915. He embarked from Sydney with the 4th reinforcements to the 13th Battalion aboard HMAT Shropshire on 17 March 1916. He served with this unit on the Western Front and also played the clarinet with the 13th Battalion Band. Harris returned to Australia on 2 January 1919.