Biography

Birth date: 28 October 1886
Birth place: Australia: Western Australia, Albany
Death date: 31 March 1917
Death place: France
Final rank: Private
Service number: 3844 - First World War, 1914-1918
Units:
  • 28th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 51st Australian Infantry Battalion

David Bernard Harford was born at Albany, Western Australia, on 28 October 1886. His mother would later state that "he was born in a spring cart at Albany after us doing a journey of [fourteen] hundred miles." Previous to the First World War, Harford had distinguished himself as a capable rifleman, winning several prizes in rifle club competitions while also taking up work as a miner and general labourer. The 28-year-old enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 14 July 1915 and departed Fremantle with the 28th Infantry Battalion aboard HMAT Miltiades on 12 February 1916.

On arriving in Egypt Harford noted in his diary his surprise at seeing gum trees lining some of the streets in Cairo. After being sent to England for further training he was deployed to the Western Front with the 51st Infantry Battalion. The unit fought its first major battle at Mouquet Farm in August and September where it suffered huge casualties. For the remainder of 1916 and throughout the bleak winter Harford and his battalion alternated between front-line duty, training, and labouring behind the line. During this time he continued to document his experiences at the front in his diary. Early the next year the Australian forces in France cautiously pursued the German Army as it withdrew to the heavily fortified Hindenburg Line. On 31 March 1917 Harford sustained a gunshot wound and died that same day whilst being treated by the 5th Australian Field Ambulance. David Bernard Harford is buried at Pozières British Cemetery at Ovillers-La Boisselle, France.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of Death: 31 March 1917
  • Unit: 51st Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 12 February 1916
  • Place of embarkation: Fremantle

Photograph

H06406

Portrait of 3844 Private David Bernard Harford, 51st (late 28th) Battalion, who died of wounds on 31 March 1917.

H06406

Private Record

Harford, David Bernard (Private, b.? - d.1917)

Collection relating to the service of 3844 Private David Bernard Harford, 51 Battalion, AIF. Collection consists of a hand-written copy of a diary kept by Private Harford from February 1916 to February 1917. Maker: Harford, David Bernard

1DRL/0335 (With records)

Digitised Collection

Handwritten copy of diary of David Bernard Harford, 1916-1917

Diary relating to the service of 3844 Private David Bernard Harford, 51st Battalion. In this diary Harford begins by detailing his journey from Australia to Egypt and the conditions on board during the journey. He also describes his sightseeing in Egypt and subsequent transfer to the 51st...

RCDIG0000860

Timeline

Date of birth 1886-10-28
Date of embarkation 1916-02-12
Date of death 1917-03-31