Harry GOFTON

Year of Birth:  1882

Place of Birth:  Newcastle on Tyne, Northumberland, England

Date of Enlistment:  21 October 1916

Date and Place of Embarkation:  22 December 1916, Sydney, New South Wales

Ship:  HMAT Demosthenes A64

Rank:  Private

Unit(s):  47th Australian Infantry Battalion

Regimental Number:  3122

Died:  27 March 1918

 

Harry Gofton was born in 1882 in Newcastle on Tyne, Northumberland, England the son of Ralph Gofton and Elizabeth Mary Seggie. After the Gofton family’s emigration to Australia, the family lived in Charters Towers. Harry, also known as “Hardy” had 10 known siblings; Joseph (1870-1950), George Edwin (1872-1955), Ellen (1873-1963), Ada (1879-1950), Edward (1880-1924), William Leichardt (1884-1964), Septimus Laws (1886-1925), Ralph (1888-1960), Robert (1889-1964) and Frederick (1892-)

 

Old postcard of Newcastle upon Tyne

 

Harry married Flora Shaw Young in 1909 in Queensland. Harry and Flora had two children, a son named Moresby and a daughter, Ela Lorraine Gofton, born about 1913 in Papua New Guinea.

At the time of Harry’s enlistment in Cairn he was residing in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. He was 34 years and 7 months old, 5 foot 7 inches tall with a dark complexion, brown eyes and brown hair turning gray. He gave his religion as Church of England. Harry is listed as a planter and his next of kin was his wife Flora Shaw Gofton who resided in Papua New Guinea. Another reference states Harry Gofton was a plantation assistant in the Eastern Division and briefly in 1914 he was the ‘Port’ butcher.

Harry served on the Western Front. He died from wounds received in action at Albert on the Somme, France on 27 March 1918. He is buried at the village of Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension, plot 8, row A

 

Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension

 

At the time of Harry’s death his wife was living in Samarai. “She visted Harry’s grave in 1922, remarried and started a hotel at Bulolo in the Mandated Territory” (Lewis).

 

Roll of Honour Circular. Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial

 

Red Cross Wounded & Missing, Australian War Memorial

 

The Evening Telegraph (Charters Towers) 26 April 1918. Trove

 

Online Resources

UK, Commonwealth War Graves, 1914-1921. Ancestry.com

NAA: B2455, Gofton, Harry. National Archives of Australia

Australian War Memorial

The AIF Project

Old Postcard of Newcastle upon Tyne

Trove: Digitised Newspapers. National Library of Australia

 

Other Resources

The Plantation Dream : Developing British New Guinea and Papua 1884-1942. D.C. Lewis, 1996

 

If you have a photograph or further information about this soldier you would like to share and add to his biography, please add a comment or the Society: projects@cdfhs.org

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