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Colt service revolver recovered from the body of Lieutenant Harold WANLISS | by SandyEm
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Colt service revolver recovered from the body of Lieutenant Harold WANLISS

Polygon Wood

"On 26 September troops of the 4th and 5th Australian Divisions fought their way through the smashed remains of Polygon Wood. They suffered heavy casualties, but advanced the line in another successful "bite-and-hold" operation."

[museum label]


"Harold Wanliss’s service revolver and holster were recovered before he was buried and given to his father, who was still in England. These items are now on display in the First World War galleries at the Australian War Memorial.


John Wanliss never got over his son’s death. Despite spending years trying to find where Harold was buried, his grave was never found, and today his name appears on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres. John Wanliss would go on to write the history of his son’s battalion, a loving tribute from a grieving father.


Harold Wanliss had been greatly admired in the battalion and was described by one of his men as “the finest Officer – ever I met”. After his death, his battalion commander wrote simply: "Many brave men – many good men have I met ... but he was the king of them all."



A German machine-gunner shot Harold through the heart, throat and side and he died instantly. He was buried where he fell.


Information on the link below gives good description of where he fell and also information that would identify him (in the 1920s) but his body was not recovered. It would be so amazing to try and find him now!



Apparently the first Lieutenant in the A.I.F. to win the D.S.O.



IMG_7647 Australian War Memorial


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Taken on April 21, 2019