Henry John Andrew Doig
Service number 847

Wounded in action, Private Henry Doig was one of many men from the Canungra district who played a part in the capture of Broodseinde Ridge in October 1917.

Twelve divisions, including the first and second ANZAC divisions, took part in the massive allied operation, which was considered the most successful of the larger Ypres offensive in Belgium.

Some one in seven Australian troops at Broodseinde Ridge became casualties, many even before the attack began in the pre-dawn darkness on October 4 when they were shelled heavily by the Germans.

In the next hours, the Australians fought through wave after wave of enemy attacks to take the ridge, and at the end of the day counted the cost of victory with 6500 casualties.

Among them was Private Henry Doig, of the 41st Battalion, who suffered a shrapnel wound to the leg.

A labourer, Henry was almost 37 years old when he enlisted on September 27, 1915. He was married with a wife Alice, who had lived on the Tweed River, but subsequently changed his next-of-kin details to include his sister, Mrs Emily Harrison, of Toowong, Brisbane.

After training in Brisbane, where the 41st Battalion had been raised in February, 1916, Henry left Australia from Sydney on the Demosthenes on May 18, arriving at Plymouth on July 20.

He embarked for France and the Western Front from Southampton on November 24 but by December 7 was in hospital with mumps.

Rejoining his battalion in the field three weeks later, Henry was among the men of the 41st who spent the bleak winter of 1916-17 between the trenches of the front line and training and labouring in the rear areas.

Battle of Messines planning map.

(Image: Australian War Memorial; Public Domain).

“One of 6500 casualties in achieving victory at Broodseinde Ridge.”

Supported the infantry as a machine gunner.

Henry was detached to the 11th Machine Gun Company from February 7 to March 22, 1917 and briefly returned to the main body of the battalion before beginning another stint as a machine gunner, from March 31.

On June 7 he supported the infantrymen when the 41st Battalion played its part at the Battle of Messines, where Australians and New Zealanders had fought together for the first time since Gallipoli.

Henry’s next major action of the war was near Warneton at the end of July, where the 41st Battalion was tasked with establishing a new front line, in full view of the enemy and under heavy shellfire. In August, the men of the 41st again endured heavy shelling, mixed with heavy rain which flooded their trenches as they held the positions taken by other Australian battalions at the end of July.

After being wounded in action at Broodseinde Ridge in October, Henry rejoined his battalion in the field on Christmas Day, 1917. He then had leave to Paris for a week from January 9, 1918.

Hospitalised for four months from February 20, Henry was taken on strength with the 8th Machine Gun Battalion on July 9. Suffering lumbago, he was admitted to hospital on October 22 and was at the Australian Infantry Base Depot at Rouelles when the war ended on November 11.

Henry returned to England on November 20 and on December 10, classed as an invalid, boarded the Somali for return to Australia.

After arriving home on March 1, Henry was discharged as medically unfit on April 8 due to rheumatism and “premature senility”.

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