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D A Harle

What were the most significant experiences for D A Harle at Wellington College?

Early life
Douglas or Dougie was called at school was a fine scholar and talented sportsman. His school reports highlight a young man of outstanding character: prefect, top scholar, talented gymnast and lightweight boxing champion; in 1911 he was school Dux. Douglas completed a law degree at Victoria University College before deciding to sign up for the army for the experience of traveling. He was accepted for military service, at the second attempt, in early 1916. He was commissioned as an officer.

What were the most significant experiences for D A Harle during the First World War?

Fighting and failing
Sadly he died as a 24 year old in the Canterbury Infantry Regiment during a successful attack that he lead on Gravenstafel Spur on 4 October 1917.
He was described by a fellow officer that he showed ‘great dash and initiative’ in leading his men against an enemy machine-gun post in a farm building. He was killed ‘just as the position was practically taken'. Dougie was for commissioned as an officer at first but moved his way up the ranks, he made it to second Lieutenant. 


Grave 
Dougie was buried in the Dochy Farm Cemetery. The surrounding landscape today is a far cry from the wasteland of 1917. Back then it was a barren muddy landscape, littered by shell holes that quickly filled with water and became graves for many men.


Facts
  • Old Boys full name: Douglas Allen Harle
  • Rank last held: 2/Lieutenant
  • Serial number: 24365
  • Regiment or Service: 23rd Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Regiment, C Company
  • Date the old boy was killed/seriously wounded etc: death 1917Oct04
  • Age when killed/seriously wounded: 24
  • Service number: 24365
  • Marital status: Single
  • Parent's names: G H Harle and M J Harle
  • Name of the memorial or cemetery which honours the old boy: BELGIUM - DOCHY FARM NEW BRITISH CEMETERY
  • Historical information about the battle in which the old boy was killed/seriously wounded: Dougie died as a 24 year old in the Canterbury Infantry Regiment during a successful attack that he lead on Gravenstafel Spur on 4 October 1917. He also fought in the battle of Passchendaele.  Battle of Passchendaele (1917)
  • Who did he leave for the war with: Dougie embarked on his war journey with school friends Norman Shrimpton and Ken Luke.
  • When did they sign up for the army: 3 April 1916
  • Military awards and the reasons that they were given: Medal of action, for leading a successful attack on a machine gun post in an old farm shed in Belgium. British War Medal, for fighting for Brittian in the war. Medal of action for showing ‘great dash and initiative in leading his men against an enemy machine-gun post’.