Tragedy strikes twice for family
THE month of August was a blessing and a curse for the parents of Gunner Henry William Charles Pharoah, of Hobart.
Henry was born on August 11, 1898 to his hairdresser father of the exact same name and his mother Lucy Jane Pharoah, a cook.
He was educated at Trinity Hill State School in North Hobart and worked as a blacksmith before enlisting for ser- vice on October 8, 1915.
On August 22, 1916 he arrived in Devonport, England and was a gunner in a howitzer brigade of the Australian Field Artillery.
After little over a month in Winchester, Henry was transferred to the 15th Field Artillery Brigade.
He was sent to France in July 1917 and then on to Belgium in August where he was posted to the 102nd Battery.
Henry was killed in action two days later on August 16.
Ten days after the first anniversary of Henry’s death on the battlefield, a death notice was published in the Mercury announcing the death of his younger brother, Percy.
The notice said Percy died suddenly on his parents’ property on August 24, 1918 — eight-days after the first anniversary of his brother’s death.
The following year, on the anniversary of Henry’s death on August 16, a notice appeared in the In Memoriam section of the Mercury.
It said, “In loving memory of our dear son, Gunner Henry W. Pharoah, who was killed in action ... on August 16, 1917, also his brother Percy who died on August 24, 1918.
“Both sadly missed. Inserted by his loving mother and family.”
Henry was buried in the Reninghelst New Military Cemetery in Belgium.
Gunner Henry William Charles Pharoah is remembered at tree 274 on the Soldiers’ Memorial Avenue and on the Honour boards at Elizabeth College, Hobart Town Hall, Swan St Church and Wesley Hall.