The AIF Project

Harold Shove THIRKELL

Regimental number16659
Place of birthParis France
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationStation hand
Addressc/o Colonel McKay, "Wallandoon", Wallindbeen, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation22
Next of kinMother, Mrs Beatrice Thirkell, c/o Colonel McKay, 'Wallandoon', Wallindbeen, New South Wales
Enlistment date18 March 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1st Light Horse Field Ambulance, 24th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number26/39/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board RMS Karmala on 3 February 1917
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll3rd Light Horse Regiment
FateReturned to Australia 12 June 1919

Meritorious Service Medal

'On arrival on 21st February 1918 of patients suffering from Typhus Fever were found in some basement rooms in a shockingly neglected and filthy state. Apparently no one had entered the rooms for some time and food had been passed through a window. Private Thirkell with two assistants entered these rooms and at great personal risk stripped the clothes off these patients, lifted them on to clean blankets and carried them out. For the performance of this dangerous work he had none of the usual means of protection, such as gloves overalls or knee boots, and it is seldom that Typhus patients can be handled under such circumstances without disaster to the attendants. By his bearing and manner of regarding it as a simple matter of duty, he inspired confidence in his assistant, who at first showed a little trepidation in undertaking the work. It was absolutely necessary that such a focus of infection as these patients represented should be dealt with. By the thorough manner in which it was done they became no longer a menace to the troops and comparatively harmless to future attendants.'
Source: 'London Gazette' No.
Date: 16 July 1918

Other details

War service: Middle East

Medals: Meritorious Service Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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