Private Warren Ainsleigh McHardie, the son of Charles Gilchrist McHardie and Elizabeth Jessie McHardie (nee Lindsay), was born at Mackay in Queensland on 27th July 1912. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School. At the age of 28 years and 6 months he was mobilized into the Australian Military Forces on 11th January 1941 at Townsville in Queensland after swearing the statutory oath of allegiance. At the time of his mobilization he was unmarried, employed as an Advertising Salesman and residing at Cleveland Street in Townsville. His physical description at the time of enlistment was that he had light brown hair and grey eyes. He stated that he was of the Presbyterian religion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Mr Charles McHardie, residing at 131 Moray Street, New Farm, Brisbane. He married Frances Maud McHardie on 19th June 1942. His next of kin was changed to that of his wife residing at 3 Folkestone Street, Mayne Junction, Brisbane.
Private Warren McHardie then voluntarily enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Townsville in Queensland on 22nd February 1941. He was allotted the regimental number of QX11542. He joined the A.I.F. Reception Depot at the Exhibition Grounds in Brisbane on 1st March 1941. He joined No. 2 Infantry Training Battalion at Redbank Camp on 3rd March 1941. He was allocated to the 4th Reinforcements of the 2nd/31st Infantry Battalion. He was granted pre-embarkation leave during the period 14th March until 23rd March 1941 to finalize his personal affairs and farewell his family prior to leaving Queensland for overseas service in the Australian Imperial Force. He left Queensland by rail transport on 7th April 1941 and travelled to Eastern Command in Sydney.
Private Warren McHardie embarked from Sydney on 8th April 1941 and disembarked from the ship in the Middle East on 14th May 1941. After arriving in the Middle East he joined the 25th Australian Infantry Training Battalion. He joined the 7th Australian Infantry Specialist Group in Palestine on 10th May 1941. He rejoined the 25th Australian Infantry Training Battalion on 29th May 1941. He rejoined the 2nd/31st Infantry Battalion in the field in Palestine on 30th May 1941.
Private Warren McHardie would have seen action during his battalion’s advance into Syria to engage the Vichy French forces. The French Forces sought an armistice and this was duly signed on 13th July 1941. He embarked from Tewfik in the Middle East on the ship “Pottrick Bank” for return to Australia on 7th February 1942 and he disembarked at Adelaide in South Australia on 21st March 1942 where the battalion moved to Woodside where it continued military training in preparation for service against the Japanese in New Guinea. The battalion subsequently moved to Casino in northern New South Wales and later to Caboolture in Queensland.
Private Warren McHardie battalion embarked from New Farm Wharf in Brisbane for service in New Guinea on the Dutch vessel “Cremer” on 31st August 1942 and he disembarked in Port Moresby on 9th September 1942. The battalion then travelled over the Kokada Track and engaged the Japanese at Imita Ridge. The 2nd/31st Battalion was engaged in many skirmishes as the Japanese withdrew their forces back to Gona.
Private Warren McHardie was killed in action in Papua during his battalion’s action during the unsuccessful attack on Gona Village on 22nd November 1942. At the time of his death he was 30 years of age. He was buried in the Gona Cemetery on 14th December 1942. He was reburied in the Gona War Cemetery on 3rd August 1943. His remains were finally laid to rest in the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery after the war. His name is commemorated on Panel No. 59 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
A detailed account of the 2nd/31st Battalion’s action at Gona is contained in Bob Burla’s publication “Crossed Boomerangs – A History of all the 31 Battalions”, Australian Military History Publications, Veronica Place, Loftus, New South Wales. 2005. The publication includes an Honour Roll of all members killed, missing and died of wounds.
Toowoomba Grammar School archive records show that he enrolled as a student on 1st January 1925 and left the school on 31st December 1926.
Australian War Memorial Honour Roll