Collie-Cardiff RSL explores the town's military history

Lest we forget: Sergeant Henry 'Harry' Charles Fuhrmann. Photo: Supplied.

Lest we forget: Sergeant Henry 'Harry' Charles Fuhrmann. Photo: Supplied.

There were a number of families from Collie and Surrounding Districts who provided more than one son to the War effort during World War 1 and World War 2.

The Fuhrmann family was no exception.

The family had moved into Collie from Worsley at the end of WW1 and resided in McKinley St. Brothers Henry and Herbert Fuhrmann were quick to enlist during WW2.

Henry into the Army in August 1940, while younger brother Herbert joined the Air Force in June 1941.

Both brothers served their country with distinction during the War and were recognised by awards for bravery. A short history of extraordinary courage follows.

FUHRMANN, Henry (Harry) Charles, DCM (POW) - Service No. WX7852; Sergeant, 2/4 th Machine Gun Battalion (2nd AIF)

After training, Harry Fuhrmann, along with 21 other 'Collie Boys', was posted to the ill fated 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion.

The 2/4th had arrived in Singapore only days before the Japanese attacked. Harry Fuhrmann was quickly in the thick of it.

Promoted to acting corporal, he was placed in command of A platoon C Coy.

During the initial attack, Harry Fuhrmann was recommended for a bravery award, the citation read:

"On the 10 February 1942, C Coy came under command 22 Bde. A Pl, which at that time was commanded by A/Cpl H.C.

FUHRMANN, was ordered to defend Adv Bde HQ. At first light the enemy launched a very heavy attack on the forward Bn.

Firing became so intense that A/Cpl FUHRMANN'S posts were pushed forward.

The attack increased in intensity and the forward Bn was ordered to withdraw and take up a fresh position, with the result that the positions held by A/Cpl FUHRMANN were now in the front line.

The Japanese attacked several times during the day but each time were repulsed. During this action, A/Cpl FUHRMANN behaved in an outstanding and energetic manner.

He fearlessly moved around encouraging the men and supervising the evacuation of the wounded.

Seeing some Indian troops on his flank about to give way, A/Cpl FUHRMANN rushed across and by his courage and example restored the position.

On the 12 th February 1942 at ULU PANDAN A/Cpl FUHRMANN again showed outstanding leadership.

A key point in the line had been evacuated and A/Cpl FUHRMANN was ordered to move forward with two sections and hold it.

He held this position for the whole of that day until relieved by his Coy Comd and his behaviour was an inspiration to the men under his command.

A/Cpl FUHRMANN'S bearing and behaviour during the whole of the time he was in action was outstanding and worthy of recognition".

Honour or Award granted: Distinguished Conduct Medal.

After the fall of Singapore, Henry Fuhrmann, along with 21 other 'Collie Boys' (see Collie Boys in Singapore), was taken prisoner of war.

He survived that terrible ordeal and returned home in 1946.

  • This column will be continued in next week's Collie Mail.