Hautrie to speak of battle
WW2 veteran to be honoured with life membership
HAUTRIE Crick, the oldest surviving member of ‘Wangaratta’s Own’ 2/24 Battalion which formed, trained and marched off to the Second World War from the Wangaratta Showgrounds, will be the guest of honour at their annual reunion in the city this weekend.
Veterans and associate members of the 2/24 Battalion will gather tomorrow, and not just listen to the 99 year old, but also honour him with a life membership to the battalion.
Alastair Davison, honorary secretary of the 2/24 Australian Infantry Battalion Association, said Hautrie will speak about being in El Alamein.
“He has recently received a Quilt of Honour, which was copied from the Americans who gave them to veterans and soldiers who were
THE 2/24 Battalion has its memorial service at the Wangaratta Cemetery at 2.30pm tomorrow.
The reunion dinner will be held at the Mason Function Room at 95 Mason Street from 7.30pm that night, where they will hear from a guest speaker, induct a new Wangaratta High School student ambassador and give citizenship awards to students from Galen Catholic College, Wangaratta High School and Cathedral College. injured in battle,” he said.
Also speaking is Dr Garth Pratten - a historian from the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at Australian National University - who will talk on Operation Oboe, the last battle the 2/24 were in, as well as a little bit about the 75th anniversary.
“The battalion of course is known as Wangaratta’s Own because it was formed in Wangaratta,” Mr Davison said.
Hautrie enlisted on August 4 in 1940 and was chosen to join the 2/24 Battalion while they were at Bonegilla to increase numbers.
He cleaned and helped unload the RMS Strathmore after he travelled aboard it to the Middle East.
The battalion trained in Palestine and travelled through Tobruk to Tocra for further training as they relieved the 6th Division.
Hautrie was given the job of riding a motorbike to Alexandria, which he nominated as the most enjoyable event during the war, when the 9th Division moved back to fight at El Alamein.
He was instructed to go to Battalion headquarters where his duty was to be a runner to take messages out to field command posts.
The battalion returned to Palestine after leaving Tobruk.
Hautrie recalled the Second Battle of Alamein, which followed his five day reconnaissance patrol up to the Turkish border, as “sheer hell”.
The battle started with a barrage of 8000 guns and a 500 pound bomb exploded near Hautrie, after which he could not hear for several days.
After Alamein the battalion returned to Australia and travelled to Atherton Tableland for jungle training.
The battalion went to Tarakan for its next operation in 1945 where it was met with extreme resistance from the Japanese.
Hautrie was discharged on December 17, 1945.