Sunday, February 18, 2018

Harold James Buckingham Tremaine

Harold James Buckingham Tremaine

Australian soldiers in Egypt. Harold Tremaine, 2nd row, 5 across, with small x above his head.
Photo © Tiller Family collection, held by Allen Tiller

Harold James Buckingham Tremaine was a married father of two young children living in the small coastal village of Haslam, located on the Nullarbor Plain in South Australia, when war broke out in Europe in July 1914.

 Harold was a shipping agent for the company John Darling and Sons[1] and was an outspoken, but much-loved member of his local community.
Harold enlisted on the 4th of September 1915 with the 9th Light Horse Regiment, 12th Reinforcement Australian Imperial Force with the rank of Private, Number 1613. Harold enlisted as he thought it was his duty to defend his country and King for the sake of his wife and children.
On the 29th of August 1915, before leaving Haslam for his military service, the townsfolk of Haslam met at Harold’s family home and threw him a going away party, where a Mr A. Palmer complimented Harold on his patriotism and sentiments[2].

Harold was positioned first with D Company in Mitcham, Adelaide in September 1915 for basic training before being moved to the 9th Light Horse, 12th Reinforcements. Training continued for Harold until he departed Adelaide onboard the HMAT A2 Geelong on November 18th,1915, heading for Egypt[3].

Harold was stationed at Heliopolis, near Cairo, Egypt, on the 28th of December 1915. On the 27th of February 1916, the 9th Light Horse Regiment marched out to Serapeum, a small town on the Suez Canal, to join its parent brigade, the 3rd Light Horse Brigade.

Five months later, while still posted in Serapeum Harold became ill with Gastro Enteritis and was transferred to Hassamya, then to the Light Field Hospital at Romani, then he was transferred again on the 25th of August 1916 to the 31st General Hospital at Port Said with appendicitis.
A letter was dutifully sent to the Haslam Post Office in South Australia on the 7th of September 1916, to inform Harold’s wife, Florence, that her husband was admitted to hospital with appendicitis[4]
H.J.B. Tremaine at Ceduna on the Eyre Peninsula
(year unknown)

 On the 22nd of September 1916, Harold was discharged from the hospital and sent to the British Red Cross Convalescent Camp at Montazah in Alexandria, Egypt.
 While Harold convalesced in hospital in Egypt, his wife and two children moved to Kapunda to live with Harold’s extended family and allow the children better opportunities to be educated than they would receive in the small town of Haslam.
 Harold was discharged from the Red Cross Hospital in October 1916. He was transferred to the 1st Light Horse Training Regiment at Moasoar. Harold trained new incoming reinforcements for a month before being transferred to the 3rd Light Horse Training Regiment, where again his appendicitis caused him to return to the hospital. 

He would remain in the 3rd Light Training Regiment, convalescing until January 29th, 1917, when he was transferred to the ANZAC Provost Corps in Cairo and attached to the Brigade Headquarters.
 Harold took great pride in his new position in Provost Corp and wore his navy-blue hat band with great pride. He wrote a letter to his wife telling her of his transfer and how to contact him in his new division.
Florence, Harold’s wife, still living in Kapunda with her two children, wrote a letter to an Officer at Base Records, to verify the new postal address of her husband and to discover what had happened to a package of socks she had sent to him.[5].
 A return letter from the officer at Base Records, dated 16th of February 1917 states

“Dear Madam, 
                      In reply to your letter of the 5th instant, forwarded to this office by the Officer in Charge, Expeditionary Force Pay Office, Adelaide. I beg to state the parcel referred to would not be returned through this office. Letters to your husband should now be addressed as under:-

No.1613 Private H.J.B. Tremaine,

    Headquarters Staff,

              3rd Light Horse Brigade,
                  Australian Imperial Force
                       A b r o a d.

Your change of address has been noted.
Yours faithfully.

Officer i/c Base Records.”
. At the end of 1917, from October to December, Harold saw service in Esani, Gamli and Jaffa in Palestine, before joining the 1st Light Horse Regiment for detachment in December that year, again finding himself ill in hospital, this time diagnosed with Myalgia, a description used to describe many different ailments, but in Harold’s case, probably described his rheumatoid arthritis that he suffered greatly from in his later life.

Harold Tremaine
(year unknown)
Harold had a tough time in Egypt in 1918, his health was in decline and spent a great deal of time in the 31sy General Hospital in Port Said being treated for debility and pyrexia.
When he wasn’t in hospital Harold served in the ANZAC Provost Corp in either Moasoar or Suez, until returning to Headquarters on the 9th of March 1919 in Cairo.
 The following day, the 9th of March 1919, Harold was promoted to the rank of ER/ 2nd Corporal ANZAC Provost Corps. and received his chevron.
On the 28th of March 1919, a letter was sent from the army to Florence in Kapunda to inform her that Harold would be returning to Australia. Harold boarded the ship Ulimaroa on the 13 of March 1919 in Cairo and steamed back to Australia arriving on the 22nd of April 1919. He then travelled by rail back to Adelaide.
While Harold was travelling by sea, Florence and the children awaited his return in Kapunda. Harold returned, but the family did not stay long, instead choosing to return to Haslam.
 Upon his return to the small coastal town of Haslam, Harold was honoured in the town hall with a guard of honour by his fellow townsfolk, and the singing of the National Anthem, and “for he’s a jolly good fellow”. He was awarded a purse of sovereigns and thanked the crowd for their generosity[6].
After his return from the war, Harold would go on to father another three children. Eventually, the family left Haslam and settled on the outskirts of Kapunda where Harold became a farmer.
 Harold suffered from “shellshock” and as a result spent some time inside the Parkside Mental Hospital in Adelaide[7], of which he escaped in 1925, and returned to his home in Kapunda.

 My father, Rodney, lived with Harold and Florence in Kapunda for a time in his youth. He remembers Harold, his Grandfather, being a very disciplined man and an authoritarian. He has memories of Harold having an office no-one else was allowed to enter.
On the one occasion Rodney remembers entering the office (with his Grandfathers approval) Harold explained to him all the photographs that adorned his office. The photographs were of Harold’s commanding officers in World War One.

Harold went on to serve in the Volunteer Defence Corps. in World War 2. He was discharged from the Australian Army with the rank of Private on the 17th of June 1943.

Harold James Buckingham Tremaine passed away on the 19th of October 1967, he is buried at St Jude’s Cemetery, Brighton North, South Australia, alongside his wife Florence.

Daryl Tremaine, Harold J.B. Tremaine, Florence Tremaine and Audrey Tiller (nee Tremaine) - Kapunda 1963

[1] 1913 'HASLAM.', West Coast Sentinel 28 November, p. 2
[2] 1915 'HASLAM.', West Coast Sentinel 28 August, p. 2.
[3] Mounted Troops — Australian Light Horse Association. 2017.
[4] Pg. 6. Australian Government: National Library of Australia. 2017. Record Search
[5] Pg. 19. Australian Government: National Library of Australia. 2017. Record Search
[6] 1919 'HASLAM.', West Coast Sentinel 14 June, p. 2.
[7] The South Australian Police Gazette, Aug 20, 1925, page 208

 Researched and Written by Allen Tiller, as a research assignment for the "Families at War" unit of the Diploma of Family History issued by the University of Tasmania.

©2017 Allen Tiller


1911 'Family Notices', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 24 June, p. 34. , viewed 29 Apr 2017,

1913 'HASLAM.', West Coast Sentinel (Streaky Bay, SA : 1912 - 1954), 28 November, p. 2. , viewed 29 Apr 2017,

1915 'HASLAM.', West Coast Sentinel 28 August, p. 2. , viewed 29 Apr 2017,

1916 '145th CASUALTY LIST', Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 26 February, p. 36. , viewed 29 Apr 2017,

1919 'HASLAM.', West Coast Sentinel (Streaky Bay, SA : 1912 - 1954), 14 June, p. 2. , viewed 29 Apr 2017,

Australian Light Horse Studies Centre. 2017. Australian Light Horse Studies Centre. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 April 2017].

First World War Embarkation Rolls: Harold James Buckingham Tremaine | Australian War Memorial. 2017. First World War Embarkation Rolls: Harold James Buckingham Tremaine | Australian War Memorial. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 April 2017].

National Library of Australia, 2015, TREMAINE Harold James Buckingham : Service Number - 1613 : Place of Birth - Kapunda SA : Place of Enlistment - Adelaide SA : Next of Kin - (Wife) TREMAINE Florence May, Australian Government,, viewed 30 April 2017

The AI.F. Project, 2016, Harold James Buckingham TREMAINE, UNSW Australia, 28 April 2017

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