lest we forget
Gunner Henry [Harry] Follett MM
The Register | Saturday, March 1, 1919
"Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Follett, of Langhorne's Creek, have received word of the winning of the Military Medal by their son, Gnr. Harry Follett, who is a grandson of Mrs. Henry Fairweather, one of the earliest born children of the State.
He was educated at the Langhorne's Creek School, and later as a student of the School of Mines won a scholarship which gave him a course at Roseworthy Agricultural College. Here he was an exceptionally brilliant student, taking the fold medal as dux of the college on the completion of his term.
He was then associated with his father (Mr. Arthur Follett) in dairy farm work at Langhorne's Creek.
Enlisting in 1916 he served with a howitzer battery in France until the cessation of hostilities. The action for which he was awarded the medal was set out by the military authorities as, "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty near Cerisy on August 8, 1918. The battery under direct fire from two enemy 4.2 guns in Malard Wood, and several men were wounded. Despite the continued shelling, Gnr. Follett went to the help of the wounded men, and assisted in their removal. In this specific instance, as on previous occasions, he, in his capacity of medical orderly, showed complete disregard of personal risk. His gallant service was of the greatest value to his battery at a most critical period."
Harry served in France for the duration of the war. Some stories passed down tell of Harry's time spent in London while on leave from the front in France in 1917-18. Charlotte Sturt opened her home in London to entertain Australian soldiers while they were on leave. Charlotte was the granddaughter of explorer Charles Sturt. Apparently she 'took a shine' to Harry and continued to correspond with him after the war.
At the end of the war, those with university qualifications were offered the opportunity to do post graduate studies in England. Harry furthered his agricultural education at Leeds University.
When he returned home to Langhorne Creek in 1920, and took up the land on the southern side of the Fairholme homestead, which we now know as Lake Breeze.
In 1920, this part of the property was virgin land that had never been cultivated. It took him years to clear the land of trees so it could be farmed. Harry had as a lad observed this land and knew just which patch did not get flooded when the river ‘came down’ each year. That’s where he would build his house. The homestead, called Bernoota, meaning ‘camp among the gums’, took years for him to build but was completed before his marriage to Marjorie Bell Richardson in 1927. Their children, Margaret was born in 1928 and James in 1930.
In 1935, Harry was encouraged to apply for the position as Agricultural Advisor to the Murraylands. This was an inaugural post acknowledging his experience and expertise. The farm was leased out, and the family moved to Murray Bridge. Sadly, Harry died in 1940, at the age of 46.
We will remember them.