Per his military service record (regimental no. 6836), Henry Neirhoff was born at Sydney, N.S.W.  He gave his age as 24 years and 1 month, his marital status as single, and his occupation as labourer.  His description on his Certificate of medical examination was height 5 feet 3 inches tall, weight 133 lbs, with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and auburn hair.  His religious denomination was Church of England.

‘H. Nierhoff’[sic] was named as being one of the ‘Wongarbon boys’ with the Coo-ees in the Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate.[1]  He may have been one of the thirteen men who stepped forward and gave his name, ‘either to march under Captain Nicholas, or to come after harvest’, when the Coo-ees recruited in Wongarbon on 14th October 1915.[2]

An initial Application to Enlist in the Australian Imperial Force form in his file was addressed to the Recruiting Officer at Wellington, and gave his postal address as Wongarbon, and was dated 17th October 1915 (the date the Coo-ees left Wellington).

‘H. Neirhoff’ was named as one of six men who joined the Coo-ees ‘on the road from Wellington’ in the Molong Express and Western District Advertiser.[3]

Henry Neirhoff completed his medical examination at Molong on 22nd October 1915, and was attested by Captain Nicholas at ‘Molong (8 miles east)’, along with several other Coo-ees, on 22nd October 1915.  He claimed to have no previous military experience.

After completing the Coo-ee March he went to Liverpool Camp as a reinforcement for the 13th Battalion.

On Monday 3rd January 1916 Private Neirhoff was presented with a wristlet watch by the people of Wongarbon as a send-off present at the Wongarbon Railway Station platform.[4]

On Private Neirhoff’s embarkation roll his address at time of enrolment was Wongarbon, N.S.W., and his next of kin is listed as his brother, R. [Rudolph] Neirhoff, Penshurst, N.S.W.

Private Neirhoff departed Sydney on the SS Port Nicholson on 8th November 1916 with the 22nd reinforcements for the 13th Battalion.

He arrived at Devonport, England on 10th January 1917, and marched into the 4th Training Battalion at Codford, England.

On 16th February 1917 Private Neirhoff was charged with overstaying his leave from midnight 2nd February 1917 till noon 12th February 1917. He was sentenced to 10 days detention and fined 23 days pay.

On 27th February 1917 Private Neirhoff was sent to Bulford Hospital with Scabies. He was discharged on 6th March 1917.

On 22nd May 1917 Private Neirhoff departed from Southampton, England, bound for France.  He was taken on strength of the 13th Battalion on 10th June 1917, when it was in the front line in the vicinity of Messines, Belgium.

On 20th December 1917 a Field General Court Martial was held where Private Neirhoff was charged with desertion whilst on active service from Belgian Chateau camp on 23rd September 1917, to 7th November 1917.  He pleaded not guilty, and was found not guilty of desertion, but guilty of being absent without leave.  He was sentenced to 2 years hard labour.

On 3rd January 1918 Private Neirhoff was admitted to No. 4 Military Prison at Rouen, France, to commence his sentence.

On 31st October 1918 Private Neirhoff was sent to the 10th General Hospital at Rouen, France, suffering Piles.  He was sent back to prison on 9th November 1918.

On 4th February 1919 Private Neirhoff was released from prison with the unserved portion of his sentence suspended.  He rejoined the 13th Battalion on 12th February 1919.

On 4th March 1919 Private Neirhoff was detached for duty at the Corps workshop at Jeumont, France.

On 26th April 1919 he was sent to the Base Depot at Le Harve.

He departed France on 13th May 1919, and arrived in Southampton, England, on 14th of May 1919.

On 23rd July 1919 Private Neirhoff departed England aboard the H.M.A.T. Main, bound for Australia.

He arrived in Sydney on 15th October 1919, and was discharged Termination of Period of Enlistment on 7th November 1919.

[1] ‘Our Soldiers’, The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, 29 October 1915, p. 4, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77601711

[2] The Route March’, The Farmer and Settler, 19 October 1915, p. 3, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116648940

[3] ‘The “Coo-ees” Come’, Molong Express and Western District Advertiser, 23 October 1915, p. 10, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article101050484

[4] ‘Wongarbon Soldiers Farewelled’, The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate, 7 January 1916, p. 5, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77603646

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