Australian “Hill 60” Military Medal, GV (Spr T. Harris, 1st Tunneling Coy, AIF)
Military Medal, GV (349 Spr T.G. Harris, AIF).
Thomas G. Harris enlisted in October 1915 and arrived in France in May 1916. He served as a driver in the Australian 1st Tunneling Company, moving high explosives used in the battle of Messines at Hill 60 on 7 June 1917. The Australian 1st Tunneling Company took over mining operations in October 1916 and maintained the mines until the detonation of the 450 tons of explosives under Hill 60, which killed an estimated 10,000 German troops.
Sapper Harris received the Military Medal “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty” in the London Gazette of 21 August 1917.
Harris led a colorful life while in the Army. He spent 414 days either in confinement (AWOL or drunk) or in hospital, mostly with a variety of venereal diseases. He was finally discharged in November 1919 and sent home to Australia. Somewhere along the way, Harris’ original Military Medal was lost, but it was replaced in June 1949, at the cost of 10 shillings. With extensive copied service records and additional research relating to the 1st Tunneling Company and the action at Hill 60.