• Harold Flatt

Army / Flying Corps
  • 15th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery
  • 5th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 57th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • 15th Brigade
  • 2nd Brigade
  • Private

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal
  • Birth

    Kent, United Kingdom

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Stories and comments
    • Harold FLATT
    • Posted by FrevFord, Friday, 4 August 2017

    Born in 1895 at Farnborough, Kent, England – son of Harry FLATT (Market Gardener) and Laura BROWN Parents residing at Thorington Corner, Halesworth, Suffolk Occupations: Cowman on a farm in Suffolk in 1911, aged 16 Farm Labourer, employed by Richard Skilbeck at Yangery Grange near Koroit in Victoria, before enlistment Member of St Paul’s Church choir, Koroit WW1: Enlisted 2/7/1915 – embarked 10/9/1915 as Private 2940, with the 9th reinforcements of the 5th Battalion for Egypt With the return of the battalions from Gallipoli, he was taken on strength of his Unit 7/1/1916 at Tel-el-Kebir – and following the rearrangement of battalions he was transferred to the 57th Bn at Serapeum 17/2/1916 To hospital with influenza 4/3/1916 to 6/3/1916 Transferred to the 60th Bn 15/3/1916 – returned to the 57th Bn 22/3/1916 Embarked at Alexandria 17/6/1916 on the HT Transylvania to join the B.E.F. – disembarking Marseilles, France 23/6/1916 Wounded in action 16/7/1916, receiving shell wounds to the face – rejoined his Unit 29/7/1916 Attached to the 15th Brigade Trench Mortar Battery 28/10/1916 and sent to a School of Instruction the following day, until 5/11/1916 Transferred to the 15th Light Trench Mortar Battery 30/11/1916 Wounded in action 1/12/1916, receiving shell wounds to the head, eyes, legs and shoulders Embarked on the West Australia for England 5/12/1916 and admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital the following day Transferred to St Dunstan’s Hostel for Blind Soldiers 18/4/1917 – and following training and various periods of Leave, he was discharged 27/9/1918 with new skills in Poultry Farming and Carpentry Married Dora KNIGHT 18/9/1918 in the Parish Church at Kensington, England Dora was born c1882, the daughter of Alexander (Gentleman) and Kathleen KNIGHT – she died in 1959, aged 77 The couple returned to Australia at their own expense, via Vancouver on the Balmoral Castle departing England 16/11/1918, and transhipping on the 6/12/1918 to the Niagra, disembarking in Sydney 11/1/1919 before travelling on to Melbourne Discharged from the A.I.F. 11/4/1919 Son – Phillip Harold (Signwriter) [Won a prize in the baby beauty competition held at St Dunstan’s, London] Harold was employed as a Joiner – resident of 179 Elgar Rd, Surrey Hills, Vic 1919, 1924 Described himself as a Gentleman, living in Percy St, Mitcham, Vic 1927, 1931 Died on the 30th of July 1932 at Mitcham, Vic Buried Box Hill Cemetery https://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/person/168437 Warrnambool Standard (Vic), Mon 5 Feb 1917 (p.2): PERSONAL Mr Richard Skilbeck, of Koroit, has received the following letter from a friend in London, of which the following is an extract: – “I have been spending to-day in the No.3 London General Hospital at Wandsworth, and came across Pte Flatt who told me he had worked for you, and I thought you might like to have a line from me concerning him. Unfortunately he has had a very bad time. He has lost both eyes, and in addition has between 15 and 20 other shell wounds about his body. The doctors have had great work to save his life. It is amazing to be able to speak of such an one as ‘cheerful,’ but he is so, and speaks hopefully of getting back to Australia again in due course. He is still in bed, and very weak and exhausted, but the doctors are hopeful of his ultimate recovery. He is being well looked after, has everything he needs, and lacks nothing.” Private Flatt was employed by Mr Skilbeck at Yangery Grange. He was a valued member of the choir of St Paul’s Church, Koroit, and left for the front early in the war. Warrnambool Standard (Vic), Fri 7 Sept 1917 (p.2): LETTER FROM BLIND SOLDIER A few months ago a paragraph appeared in the “Standard” describing the fearful injuries sustained in the war by Pte Harold Flatt, who, when discovered in an English Hospital by a friend was suffering from more than 15 wounds and who was quite blind. On Monday Mr F. Norman received a letter from him, dated at St Dunstan’s Regent Park, London, and written on a typewriter (writes our Koroit correspondent). Mr Flatt says: – “Just a few lines to let you know that I am still in the best of health, and sincerely hope that you are the same….. My work here is going on slowly, and I have had my first poultry test, but we have not got the results through yet, but I think I have passed all right. We shall most likely know today. I have not yet passed my type test, and shall have to wait until after the holidays for that. We are breaking up on the 25th July for a month, and I shall be going home to Suffolk. I have started to learn the violin, and am getting on fine, and the Braille is going slowly forward. My old leg is very slow; it does not seem to improve a bit, and is very painful at times. The thigh is still very weak and I have to wear a splint to support it, for without it I should not be able to walk much. The doctor is quite satisfied, so it’s no good worrying. I don’t think I shall be back before the new year as the course will take me quite that time.” In another letter to a lady in Koroit Mr Flatt gives some slight hope of getting his sight again a little, but is not over sanguine about it. 1926 Blinded Soldiers’ Association: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/201631597 Advocate (Burnie, Tas), Tue 1 Mar 1932 (p.5): BLINDED DIGGERS Men Who Have Reshaped Their Lives – Never Despaired (By Hugh Buggy in the Melbourne “Herald”) ………………………………………………………………………………….. Just now these blind soldiers are meeting in conference. ………………………………………….. Then at the conference too has been H. Flatt, another living example of the triumph of mind and spirit over adversity. An engineer [sic] before the war, he returned blind and shut out obviously from a calling that held in it the element of danger. Flatt turned to carpentry. Once more the doubters wagged their heads. How on earth could this resolute Digger determine whether a piece of oregon was straight or whether it was a piece of oregon! Yet Flatt did not sit down and grumble about his lot. He evolved an amazing system of measurements and scales which he taught himself to follow with care in his darkness. That care, that sensitive touch, that concentration, eventually gave him precision. Now at Mitcham he can turn out a door or a window sash of a finish equal to those made by carpenters who have their sight. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/67910844 The Argus (Melb, Vic), Mon 1 Aug 1932 (p.1): DEATHS FLATT – On the 30th July, 1932, at Mitcham, Harold, loved husband of Dora, and loving father of Phillip Flatt, of 71 Percy street, Mitcham. (English papers please copy) FUNERAL NOTICES FLATT – Mitcham and District R.S.S.I.L.A. – Members of the above branch are invited to attend the funeral of their late comrade, HAROLD FLATT, in the Box Hill Cemetery. The funeral will leave 71 Percy street, Mitcham, THIS DAY (Monday, August 1), at 3.30 p.m. FLATT – Members of the Victorian Blinded Soldiers’ Association are respectfully requested to attend the funeral of their late comrade, HAROLD FLATT.