TONKIN, Henry Gordon

Henry was born in 1893 in South Australia and came to the Inverell district with his family when he was a child. With his siblings he attended Little Plain School until joining his father working on their farm ‘Garfield’ Delungra.

Two days after the departure of the Second Contingent of The Kurrajongs, Henry passed his medical examination at Inverell and his application to serve from 28th March 1916 was signed. With eighteen other volunteers Henry departed Inverell for the Narrabri and Armidale camps, becoming a member of the 33rd Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement. 

During July he returned home on final leave and a farewell function was held for him at which the Little Plain citizens presented him with a fountain pen and leather pocket wallet.  He sailed from Australia on HMAT A15 Port Sydney in September. Just before Christmas 1916 he arrived in France and by March was near Armentieres. He wrote in his diary ‘ … Up at 3.30. Back into trenches. Bailing water out of a concrete dug out. Camping in it, 18 of us like rats in a hole.’  

Shortly after this he was wounded for the first time. In June 1917 he received a gunshot wound to his right arm requiring transfer to hospital in England. By September he had returned to his unit but the following month was seriously wounded for the third time and evacuated to Barrington War Hospital in Shrewsbury, England. Henry eventually returned to Australia in 1918 and was medically discharged in 1920.

After the War, Henry took up land near Warialda and despite his serious war injuries managed his 4000 acre property. He married in 1930 and had three children. Henry died in 1960 and was buried at Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney. His name is inscribed on the Inverell Honor Roll.

Photo courtesy of family