Bert Sidney Haron
- Born: 20 Sep 1900, St Leonards, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- Marriage (1): Kathleen Desboro Boitoult in 1928 in North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- Died: 15 Oct 1982, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia at age 82
Bert enlisted in the AIF in North Sydney on the 17 September 1918, 3 days before his 18th birthday. He was a single Shop Assistant and listed his father, H. Haron of "Rivelin", Colin St, Suspension Bridge, North Sydney, as his next of kin. He recorded that he had had previous experience in the Senior Cadets for 4 years. As he was not yet 21 years old both his parents provided their consent for his enlistment.
Bert was desribed in his enlistment papers as 5' 9" tall, weighing 122 lbs. His complexion was fair, eyes brown and hair brown. His religion was listed as Church of England. His place of birth was recorded as Willoughby, NSW.
At the time of his enlistment the war was drawing to a close, ending as it did in November of 1918. He was not actually issued with a Service Number and he was discharged from the AIF on 31 December 1918.
Bert did get another chance to serve with the outbreak of WW2 and he enlisted again on 2 January 1940 at Paddington, NSW. Interestingly he listed his birth year as 1905 and his age as 35, even though he was actually 40. Perhaps, he thought he would miss out on the opportunity to serve his country a second time due to his age! He was a Labourer, and married, and his address was "Rosedene", Adelaide St, St Mary's in NSW. He listed his wife, Kathleen as his next of kin. On 7 Aug 1941 her address was cghanged to 385 Miller St, Cammeray, North Sydney.
Bert was given the Service No. NX9616 and the rank of Private and was assigned to the 2/2 Australian Infantry Battalion. Within a week he was on his way to Egypt on the HMT U4 disembarking at Kantara on the 13 February 1940.
"After disembarking in Egypt on 13 February 1940, the 2/2nd trained with the rest of the 16th Brigade in Palestine until the end of August. It then moved to Egypt to carry out its final preparations for operations with the 6th Division.
The 2/2nd Battalion's first campaign of the Second World War was the advance from Egypt into eastern Libya in January and February 1941. It was involved in the attacks to capture Bardia (3-5 January) and Tobruk (21-22 January), and remained as part of the Tobruk garrison when the advance continued. The 2/2nd left Tobruk on 7 March, ultimately bound for Greece.
Arriving in Greece on 22 March, the 2/2nd was soon deployed north to resist the anticipated German invasion. It occupied positions at Veria on 7 April, but a succession of withdrawals by the Allies in Greece meant that the battalion did not meet the enemy in battle until 18 April - at Tempe (Pinios) Gorge. There, in a desperate fight, the 2/2nd blocked German movement through the gorge to permit the safe withdrawal of Allied forces further south. It held its ground until overwhelmed by vastly superior German forces. Some parties from the battalion later managed to rejoin the main withdrawal south, and were eventually evacuated by the Allied navies, while others made epic escapes through the Greek islands. A group of 189 members of the 2/2nd subsequently fought with the 16th Brigade Composite Battalion on Crete.
After being rebuilt in Palestine, the 2/2nd manned defences in northern Syria between October 1941 and January 1942. It left the Middle East, heading for the war against Japan, on 11 March 1942. The 16th and 17th Brigades, however, were diverted on the voyage home. Between 27 March and 13 July they defended Ceylon (current-day Sri Lanka) from possible Japanese attack. The 2/2nd finally disembarked in Australia, at Melbourne, on 4 August 1942."
Source: Australian War Memorial Website: https://www.awm.gov.au/unit/U56045/
Bert was amongst those troops who had been diverted to defend Ceylon against the possible Japanese invasion. After returning to Melbourne Bert was deemed "Temporarily Medically Unfit" by the Medical Board and on 30 December 1942 he was evacuated to the 114 Australian General Hospital. By the 6 February 1943 Bert had been transferred to the General Details Depot. The purpose of the GDD was to rehabilitate soldiers (especially POWs) who might need special treatment before resuming military or civilian life. It appears that in Bert's case this may have been because had had a serious hand injury. In his discharge papers there is reference to a "deformed right hand". He was discharged from the army on 6 April 1944, after nearly a year at the GDD, his discharge papers stating that he was "required for employment in an essential occupation".
Noted events in his life were:
• He resided at 1930 3 Colin St, Camaray: Bert Sidney HARON (grocer), Kathleen Desbon HARON (hd) in 1930 in Camaray, Warringah, New South Wales, Australia.
• He resided at 1930 33 Mosman St Mosman: Bert Sidney HARON, (carter). 1930 33A Mosman St, Mosman Kathleen Deboro, (h.d.) in 1930 in Mosman, New South Wales, Australia.
• He resided at 1933 23 Carter St, Camaray: Bert Sidney (milk carter), Kathleen Desboro HARON (hd) in 1933 in Camaray, Warringah, New South Wales, Australia.
• He resided at 1936 Adelaide St, St Marys: Bert Sidney ( no occupation), Kathleen Desboro HARON (hd) in 1936 in St Marys, Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia.
• He resided at 1949 1954 Weymouth Park St, Mona Vale, Bert Sidney HARAN (gardener). Nearby 1949 and 1954 Larissa, Dygal St, Mona Vale Kathleen Desboro HARON (h d ). Wife with son James Clifford 1954. In 1949 in Narrabeen, New South Wales, Australia.
Bert married Kathleen Desboro Boitoult in 1928 in North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. (Kathleen Desboro Boitoult was born in Jun 1905 in Surrey, England.)