HARRY MONK 1888-1917

9931 Sapper Harry Monk, 9th Field Company, Australian Engineers died 21 December 1917 and is buried at Rookwood Necropolis Military Cemetery, Sydney, NSW, Australia.[1]  He was 29 years old and is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra [2] and a family headstone, West Auckland cemetery.

Family Details

Harry Monk was born 1888[3], the son of Alfred William and Emily Monk.  There were 8 children, all born at Bishop or West Auckland: [4]

  • Arthur bc.1881 at Bishop Auckland
  • Sydney bc.1882 at Bishop Auckland
  • Nellie bc.1883 at Bishop Auckland
  • Annie bc.1885 at Bishop Auckland
  • Fred bc.1886 at West Auckland
  • Carrie bc.1887 at West Auckland
  • Harry born.1888 at West Auckland
  • Mabel bc.1893 at West Auckland

In 1891, 36 year old Alfred Monk (bc.1855 at Dalston, London) was employed at West Auckland Brewery as the “secretary & agent” and the family lived at West Auckland Hall. [5]  By 1901, Alfred was recorded as a “secretary & manager” employed at the brewery.  19 year old Sydney was employed as a “commercial clerk” and 15 year old Fred as an “engineer’s apprentice”.[6]

In 1911, 56 year old Alfred was recorded as “manager of brewery”, 29 year old Sydney as an “accountant’s clerk”, 22 year old Harry as an “architect” and 18 year old Mabel as “studying at cooking”.[7]

By March 1916, 27 year old Harry, a single man was in Australia living at the Metropole Hotel, Sydney, New South Wales and worked as a “draughtsman”.  His father Alfred lived at 47 Percy Gardens, Tynemouth, Northumberland. [8]

Service Details

13 March 1916:  Harry Monk attested aged 27 years 8 months (papers signed 20 March 1916) at Roseberry Park, Sydney.  He was 5’7” tall, medium complexion, hazel eyes with brown hair going bald.  His religion was Church of England.  He joined the 9th Field Company, Australian Engineers. [9]

The following summary was provided: [10]

  • 5 July 1916: embarked for active service abroad
  • 31 August 1916: disembarked at Plymouth
  • 14 November 1916 admitted to Military Hospital, Fargo
  • 18 November 1916: discharged from hospital to duty
  • 19 November 1916: proceeded overseas to France
  • 12 January 1917: Admitted to 1th Australian Field Ambulance [mumps]
  • 13 January 1917: Admitted 7th General Hospital [mumps]
  • 2 February 1917: transferred to 4th Stationary Hospital, Arques [Orchitis]
  • 12 February 1917: transferred to 10th Stationary Hospital, St. Omer [slight Orchitis]
  • 16 March 1917: transferred to England
  • 18 March 1917: Admitted to 3rd Southern General Hospital, Oxford [Orchitis]
  • 21 June 1917: discharged from hospital to depot, Weymouth and marched into No.2 Command Depot, Weymouth from 1stA.H. Harefield
  • 27 July 1917: Left England for return to Australia aboard “Demosthenes”
  • 24 September 1917: disembarked at Melbourne for Sydney
  • 21 December 1917: died in Quarantine Station, North Head, Sydney [TB]

In May 1917: Lance Corporal Harry Monk[11] was considered “permanently unfit for general and home service”[12]

21 December 1917: Sapper H. Monk died from TB at the Quarantine Station, Manley, Sydney NSW.

Sapper H. Monk was awarded the British War and Victory medals.[13]


Sapper Harry Monk, 9th Field Company, Australian Engineers died 21 December 1917 and is buried at Rookwood Necropolis Military Cemetery, Sydney, NSW, Australia.[14]


Sapper H. Monk is commemorated on the Australian War Memorial, Canberra at panel 24.[15]

West Auckland Cemetery: A family headstone has the following inscription:[16]

“Pillar Sacred to the memory of Arthur beloved son of A.W & E. MONK of the Hall W. Auck who died 14 Aug 1899 aged 19 yrs.  Also Annie their dear daughter born 9 Aug 1884 died 1 Mar 1911.  In loving memory of Alfred William Monk who died 5 Jan 1917 aged 62 yrs.  Also Emily loving wife of above who died 12 Jun 1937 aged 79 yrs.  Also Cpl. Harry Monk 9th Australian Engineers son of above who died in the Military Hospital Sydney NWS 21 Dec 1917 aged 29 yrs.  Also Fred their son who died in Melbourne, Australia 21 Aug 1938 aged 52 yrs.”


Harry Monk was the 4th and youngest son of Alfred and Emily Monk.  Alfred was the manager of West Auckland Brewery.  Harry was recorded as being employed as an architect on the 1911 census.  In 1914, when hostilities broke out, Harry was working abroad, having been appointed surveyor to the Government of Tonga and Friendly Islands.

Harry Monk enlisted 20 March 1916, joining the Australian Engineers and arrived at Plymouth, UK in August 1916 before proceeding to France in November that year.  In January 1917, he contracted mumps and was treated at various hospitals in France and England before returning to Australia in September 1917 due to his continuing ill health.

Harry Monk died of tuberculosis 21 December 1917, aged 29, in the Quarantine Station, North Head, Sydney.

Sapper Harry Monk was afforded an Imperial War Grave Commission burial [now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission] and was interred at Rookwood Necropolis Military Cemetery, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia at grave reference C.E.H.698.  Harry is commemorated on the family headstone in West Auckland cemetery.  Unusually, he is not recorded on the Roll of Honour in West Auckland Memorial Hall or the War Memorial on the village green.

I, my wife Kathryn and our Australian friends Mark and Jan Brownlie paid our respects to Harry on a fine, sunny afternoon Sunday 11 August 2019.  Thanks to Mark and Jan for taking the trouble to take us there and also to Corey Wiegold, Assistant Manager, NSW Office of Australian War Graves for providing detailed plans of the cemetery.

Kevin Richardson 21 August 2019

MONK Harry

MONK Harry Family Headstone

MONK Harry
Family Headstone



[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] Australian War Memorial – panel 24

[3] England & Wales 1837-1915 Birth Index Vol.10a p.238 Auckland 1888 Q3

[4] 1891, 1901 & 1911 census

[5] 1891 census

[6] 1901 census

[7] 1911 census

[8] Australian Imperial Force Nominal Roll

[9] Attestation Papers Medical Examination 13 March 1916

[10] Particulars of Service in the AIF in connection with ex-No.9931 Sapper Harry Monk, 9th Field Coy. Engineers  issued to the Department of Repatriation, St. Kilda Rd., Melbourne.  Copy of Army Form B.179 and extract of Army Form B.178 attached 30 June 1922

[11] Army Form B.103

[12] Army Form B.179 Medical Report on an Invalid

[13] Australian Medal Roll

[14] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[15] Australian War Memorial

[16] “West Auckland Cemetery: Monumental Inscriptions” 1994 Cleveland, N. Yorks. & S. Durham Family History Society compiled by Carol A. McLee