CAPTAIN HARRY WEBBER
10TH MARCH 1918 AGE 23
BURIED: SPOILBANK CEMETERY, YPRES, LEBANON
Captain Harry Webber, aged 23 when he was killed in action on 10 March 1918, is not to be confused with his namesake, Lieutenant Harry Webber, who was 68 when he was killed on the Somme by a stray shell on 21 July 1916. Lieutenant Harry Webber is thought to have been the oldest man to have been killed at the front in the First World War.
Captain Webber enlisted on 20 August 1914. Webber, a turner and fitter, was already a sergeant in the Australian militia, the 92nd Infantry Regiment based in his home town of Launceston, Tasmania. He embarked from Hobart for Egypt on 20 October 1914 and served on Gallipoli after the landings in April 1915 where he was wounded and hospitalised. He rejoined his battalion in France and was wounded again. In January 1918 he was mentioned in dispatches. The recommendation reads:
"For conspicuous devotion to duty. He has always shown great energy, initiative and efficiency as Lewis Gun Officer, 2nd in Command & Company Commander. Although one of the youngest of the officers in the Bn he always sets an excellent example to the others. Was recommended for gallantry in action on 25/27 Feb. 1917."
His father, Henry Webber, signed for his inscription, describing his son as noble, in other words as having fine moral principles, and referring to the duty, the sense of moral responsibility, that his son felt towards God, King George V and his parents. There is something infinitely touching about the juxtaposition of these three, and for an Australian-born soldier it shows the unity his parents still felt with Britain, the Motherland of the Empire.