HARRIS Walter Kilroy
1659, Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
8451, Legion of Frontiersmen, Australia
Distinguished Service Order Gazetted 1 March 1918, p2728 (Citation 13 August 1918, p9561) T/Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When the enemy attacked under an intense bombardment and captured his trench, he directed repeated bombing attacks until he had regained half the trench and established block which was hotly contested all day. Towards evening he led a bombing attack along both sides of the trench, which regained the whole position and resulted in the capture of five enemy machine guns. Throughout the day he led his company with great courage and determination under heavy fire, and set them a magnificent •example. It was entirely due to his efforts that the position was re-established. Gazetted 26 January 1917, p1018 Temp/Sub Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led a raid against an enemy machine gun with great gallantry, capturing the gun and turning it on the enemy. Later, he led a small bombing party and was instrumental in capturing 102 prisoners.
Gazetted 17 July 1917, p7217
Temp/Sub Lieutenant, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
For conspicuous gallantry during operations. Owing to the enemy's wire being very thick the situation during an advance became critical, and heavy casualties were occurring in his company. With great bravery he kept cheering his men on, and when through the wire he organised bombing parties to protect the flanks. His conduct throughout was magnificent.
Gazetted 15 January 1918, p954 (Citation 23 April 1918, p4990)
Sub Lieutenant (A/Lt.), Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. His daring reconnaissance’s and thorough preparations contributed largely to the success of night operations, resulting in the capture of two enemy posts and three machine guns. By his skill and initiative he was the means of establishing the line in a commanding position.
Mention in Despatches
Gazetted 7 April 1918
(No citation details)
Distinguished Service Order
British War Medal
Mention in Despatches
Born 1889 Lambton, NSW, Australia
Married 30 Dec 1926 Lincoln, Ontario, Canada [Leila Beerdena Gott]
Died October 1974 Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Captain Walter Kilroy Harris, MC*, FRGS, of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, has been awarded a second bar to the Military Cross and also the Distinguished Service Order. Captain Harris is a Company Commander in the Drake Battalion of the Royal Naval Division. Only two other officers hold these four decorations.
Prior to the war (joined 1913), Captain Harris was a Lieutenant in Command of the Newcastle (Australia) sub-unit of the Legion of Frontiersmen. In December 1914, he was on his way from Australia to report to the London Headquarters of the Frontiersmen when the British Consul General at San Francisco, the Hon Carnegie Ross, CB, asked him to remain there for some time to do special military work of a confidential nature for the British War Office. Resuming his journey in May 1915, he arrived in England too late to accompany the Frontiersmen to East Africa. He has been wounded on three occasions and once slightly gassed. At the time of his election to the Royal Geographical Society in 1912, Captain Harris had the distinction of being the youngest Fellow of that society, being then only 23 years of age. His book ‘Outback in Australia’, dealing with travels in the Australian interior, was published on his 24th birthday. Captain Harris’ overland travels in Australia included a ride of 800 miles on horseback from Sydney to Brisbane; a cattle droving trip of 1,700 miles; a journey of 2,400 miles in a one-horse sulky from Sydney to Adelaide and back; and a drive of over 2,000 miles from Sydney to Broken Hill and back.
[Courtesy “Frontiersman” journal, London 1918]
EXPLORER AND SOLDIER.
Captain Walter Kilroy Harris, DSO, MC, MiD
Captain Walter Kilroy Harris, DSO, MC, FRGS, FRCI-L, RND. author of two books "Outback in Australia" and "Killing Germans," was a passenger by the R.S. Ormonde which arrived at Fremantle on Friday last Captain Harris, who is a company commander in the Drake Battalion of the Royal Naval Division, is a young man who has had a particularly brilliant and adventurous career. He left Australia in the early days of the war to join the Imperial Forces, and he was then entrusted with confidential War Office work in America. Prior to enlistment he held a commission in the Australian Command of the Legion of Frontiersmen. Before going to France, the captain saw service in the Mediterranean, and he has been wounded four times, his wounds having rendered him unfit for further active service. His DSO and MC, of which he holds in addition to the cross, two bars, were awarded for bravery in the field.
Captain Harris has conducted several journeys of exploration, and for his services in this direction he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. At the time of his election in 1912, Captain Harris had the distinction of being the youngest Fellow of that society, being then 23 years of age. In the bushlands of Australia the captain has a worthy record of overland travel. His last journey was a 2,400-mile drive in a one-horse sulky from Newcastle (New South Wales) to Adelaide (South Australia, upon which adventure he was accompanied by his younger brother. Since the performance of that drive Captain Harris has, with his sister, made a journey of over 2,000 miles from Newcastle to Broken Hill in a similar conveyance. For the past twelve months Captain Harris has been acting as; King's Messenger, and he has in that capacity performed some important work for the Diplomatic Service in Europe. His brother, Mr. Chap L. Harris, is attached to the staff of Robert Harper and Co., Fremantle.
[Courtesy Trove, 22 December 1919, page 8]