Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 -1919
2558 Private Henry John Whillance - Orbost Killed in Action 26 March 1917
Born in 1890 Harry, as he was known to everyone, was the first of five boys and four girls all born at Orbost to Robert and Eileen Whillance. Educated locally he was variously employed on the farm and as a labourer in the district. When he was 25 years old, and single, he enlisted on 3 August 1915 and embarked from Melbourne on the Shropshire on 25 September 1916 with many other East Gippsland men. They arrived at Plymouth in November and on 30 December set sail again on the SS Princess Clementine, marching in to Etaples on 31 December. Harry contracted mumps and spent February in hospital and when discharged joined the 58 th   Battalion on 7 March. Three weeks later, Harry was dead. At about 8pm on 26 March, while digging a machine gun position on the sunken road between the villages of Lagnicourt and Morchies, a shell landed on the road about ten yards from him and a piece of it hit Harry in the chest killing him almost instantly. Private Carlson later reported that he died in my arms and was buried just near where he fell. Harry was well liked by his comrades and it fell to comrades in the 32 nd  Battalion to bury him and two others, Plowright and Lodge, who were killed in the same explosion, two days later. On 25 April, the Methodist minister from Orbost wrote to Base Records requesting information about his death for his anxious parents as any news whatever would be greatly appreciated by his sorrowing parents. Harry’s brother Arthur later joined the Navy and came home, however, his younger brother Benny also enlisted and was killed later in 1917. Henry Whillance is remembered on the Orbost Shire honour roll and at the Villers-Bretonneux memorial.   We have been unable to locate a photograph of Private Henry John Whillance, if you know of one, please make contact. Our group would appreciate your assistance.
….. he died in my arms and was buried just near where he fell