Jackaroo to soldier, a voice from the past
AS YEPPOON and Emu Park RSLs put the final plans in place for this year’s 100-year anniversary of Armistice Day, we take a step back in time and remember one of our fallen soldiers, Mounted Infantry Soldier Harold Philip Sherwin who at just 25-years-old, was killed in action on November 7, 1915.
Listed as soldier 169 with the 5th Light Horse Australia Imperial Force, Harold Sherwin had been working at Barfield Station near Theodore when he enlisted in 1914 to serve his country.
Buried at Shell Green in Gallipoli, the well-respected young soldier never made it home.
Over 100 years later, his letters written and sent home to his esteemed employers were uncovered when the family home was sold.
For Libby and Philip Homer, who found the documents, the discovery was a heartfelt reminder of a young man connected to their family who never got to see old age.
“We had the Barfield Station at Banana where Harold was a jackaroo,” Libby said.
“When the station was sold we were sorting through the contents of the home and my daughter came across a box of letters bundled beautifully and tied with ribbon.
“Our whole family became intrigued with Harold’s story, so we sought more information about this young man.
“I rang every Sherwin in the local phone books and found a living descendant in Gladstone who had lost his two uncles in the war.
“He was so happy to receive the original letter, it touched all our hearts.
“We did find other items such as postcards and trinkets sent to Edwin Homer, who was very fond of Harold.”
Libby said the letter painted a picture of the times, a voice from the past that touched the hearts of the whole family.
“This was linked to our family, we found the plaque of remembrance in Yeppoon and sourced his war records to get a
clearer picture of Harold’s life,” she said.
“It was lovely to discover a little more about this young man and to find one of his ancestors to be able to return the letter to his family.
“It was also terribly sad to see the letter had been written just before Anzac Day and only months before this young soldier lost his life.”
Harold Sherwin was born in Yaamba to Edwin Turner Sherwin and Lucy Amy Sherwin.
He attended Allenstown State School as a lad and loved the land, working as a jackeroo on various stations before enlisting to fight for his country.
At 24, Harold enlisted when the war broke out and joined 5th Light Horse Australia Imperial Force on December 8, 1914.
His brother George Ernest Sherwin, who had enlisted later, also died of wounds in France on September 9, 1918.
A transcript of the original letter can be read on the next page.
FRONTLINE: Harold Philip Sherwin was killed in action.