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Harry Russ was born in Ballarat East, Victoria, was single and a Tailor when he enlisted in the 23rd Battalion, 6th Reinforcement on 13 October 1915 at the age of 18. His unit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A38 Ulysses on 27 October 1915. He was hospitalised briefly, suffering from influenza, on 15 March 1916. After his recovery he was sent to attend 2nd Australian Divisional Signal School. He left France to England on 14 August 1918. Three months later the armistice would be signed, bringing the hostilities to an end. He returned home to Australia on 22 September 1919 aboard the Argyilshire.
Tree No. 3276