Harold Edward Elliott


In 1914 Harold Elliott was residing in Darebin Road, Northcote. Elliott had been born in country Victoria and had served in the 4th Victorian Contingent in South Africa during 1900 – 1902. During his service he won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for a night action against the Boers. Returning from the war Elliott proved not only academically successful, winning several scholarships, but also was an excellent athlete. It was therefore little surprise when he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel in the 58th Battalion in 1913. By this stage Elliott had been living at Northcote for several years.

In August 1914 the First World War broke out and Elliott went down to the Northcote Town Hall to enlist. He was quickly drafted into the Australian Imperial Force (A.I.F.) as the commander of 7th Battalion. Elliott was part of the action in the Gallipoli Landing on 25 April 1915, being wounded and evacuated on the very first day. Back in action by June Elliott was in the thick of the fighting and was nominated for the Victoria Cross for his work. To his chagrin he did not receive the medal although four members of his unit did.

In March 1916 Elliott was promoted to Brigadier General in command of the 15th Victorian Brigade of the 5th Division. Elliott saw much fighting on the Western Front and was acknowledged as a good leader, who did not needlessly risk his men’s lives. Elliott began to clash with his commanders, firstly General Birdwood and later General White, regarding the quality of the officers assigned to Elliott and wastefulness of some of the battle tactics.

During 1917 and 1918 Elliott frequently demonstrated a high level of leadership during battle but his arguments with the High Command led to him being passed over for promotion to Major General in May 1918. Elliott took the news hard but continued to fight and was wounded again in August 1918. Despite this Elliott continued to serve until the end of the War. Turning his hand to politics after the war, Elliott was elected as a Federal Senator in 1919. In 1926 Elliott finally received his promotion to Major General. However ill health now threatened both his political and military career.  

In 1931 he was admitted to hospital with a gunshot wound to his arm. He later died of the injury. At inquest it was determined that the wound was self inflicted.

 Pike, Douglas (ed) Australian dictionary of biography. (1981).  Carlton. Melbourne University Press.

Northcote Enlistment Cards: World War One.  1919 - 1922.