William James Harband aka James William Coutts Harband

First Name: 
James
Middle Name: 
William Coutts
Last Name: 
Harband
Date of Birth: 
Sunday, June 23, 1895
Mother's Name: 
Eva Lendrigan nee Coutts
Father's Name: 
John Harband
Date Enlisted: 
Saturday, May 15, 1915
Rank at Enlistment: 
Private
Rank at Discharge: 
Private
Unit: 
19th Battalion
Company: 
B
Service: 
Infantry
Awards: 
1914/1915 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Date of Death: 
Saturday, July 3, 1948
Place of Death: 
Sydney
Details: 

Born James William Coutts Harband, William Harband (Service No 739) was born in Kiama, N.S.W. 

William seems to have had a difficult childhood.  In 1908 William, under his birth name, James William Coutts Harband, was convicted in Children's Court of being an uncontrollable child.  On 6th March 1914 he was convicted of breaking, entering and stealing and sentenced to 12 months gaol.

Almost as soon as he was realeased from prison, William enlisted using the name he would appear to use for the rest of his life.  At enlistment, William stated he was single, 19 years old, worked as a carpenter, and lived in Leichardt, Sydney.

He embarked from Sydney on HMAT A40 Ceramic with 19th Battalion, B Company on 25th June 1915 and arrived on Gallipoli on 21st August 1915.  After servicing at Gallipoli, William was sent on to France, arriving on 25th March 1916.

William saw service on the Western Front until he was wounded in action on 10th August 1918, however no specific injury is recorded on his papers.  On 1st November 1918 he was transferred to 3rd Battalion.

Apparently William was still a troubled young man; he was in strife almost from the time he left Sydney and most of his service was spent under punishment, & on 29th January 1918 he was Court Martialled. 

William married Elsie Cole in London on 25th October 1918.  While all of William's official war documents show William used his preferred name, William James Harband, his certified extract of a marriage certificate on file (National Archives of Australia papers) carry his birth name, James William Coutts Harband.  In a letter to the Army written by Elsie in1967, Elsie referred to her husband as James William, while he seems to have always used William James.

William was returned to Australia in January 1919 and discharged from the AIF on 22nd April 1919.  Elsie followed him back to Australia they raised 3 children.

William died in Sydney in 1948.

 

Sources: 
NAA: B2455, HARBAND W J

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