WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this article may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

Harry Thorpe

Henry 'Harry' Thorpe was a Brabuwooloong man born in Gunaikurnai Country at the Lake Tyers Mission Station near Lakes Entrance, Victoria. In February 1916, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force and joined the 17th Reinforcements to the 7th Battalion on the way to the Western Front. After two weeks of fighting, Harry was evacuated with a gunshot wound to his leg.

In January 1917, Harry was promoted to Lance Corporal and went on to fight in the battle of Bullecourt where he was wounded for the second time by a gunshot wound to the shoulder. Later that year, he was involved in the operations near Ypres in Belgium. His great courage when helping his company commander in seeking out German infantry sheltering in dugouts and pill boxes earned him a Military Medal (MM) and promotion to corporal. The original military citation for the Distinguished Conduct Medal commended Harry's "disregard of all danger" and described him as an inspiration to his men.

During the great offensive of August 1918, Harry was seriously wounded in the stomach during the battle at Lihons. When stretcher-bearers finally reached him, his wounds proved to be fatal, and he died shortly afterwards. He was 34.

Harry is buried in the large Heath Cemetery near Harbonnières, a few kilometres from where he fell next to his friend William (Bill) Rawlings MM, who died on the same day. The war ended 3 months later.

Although Harry didn’t return from the war, his actions were a voice for generations. His tenacity and devotion to duty in defence of the freedoms of his fellow countrymen came at the ultimate cost. Today, the name Uncle Harry Thorpe is inscribed on a memorial in Lakes Entrance, where a street called Thorpe's Lane is also named in his honour.