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3 Local Heroes to be Remembered

 Laurence Dominic McCarthy VC

Laurence was born in York and as a teenager worked on a farm near Northam and later became a contractor for two years at the Bunning Bros sawmill in Lion Mill (now Mt. Helena). During that time, he managed to cut off several fingers off his left hand. This accident initially resulted in his being rejected when he first tried to enlist.

He persisted and showed the recruiting officers at Blackboy Hill his trophies from the Northam Rifle Club where his outstanding marksmanship was recognised. He was accepted on 22nd September 1914 when he was 22. Like thousands of other Australian soldiers, he left from King George Sound in Albany

and went on to take part in the landing at Gallipoli.

Later as a sergeant in France he received the Cross de Guerre and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. Not long after this promotion he received the highest honour it is possible for a soldier in the British Army to receive the Victoria Cross

This portrait of Lawrence was painted by Charles Wheeler for the Australian War Memorial

Captain Hugo Throssell VC

Hugo was born in Northam the Born in Northam, Western Australia, on 26 October 1884, Hugo was known as 'Jim' to family and friends. He was the youngest son of 14 children. His parents were George Throssell an Irish immigrant storekeeper eventually elected state premier, and his wife Anne Morrell of Northam.

Second Lieutenant Hugo Vivian Hope Throssell was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for bravery at Hill 60 where he singlehandedly captured a Turkish trench. He became the only light horseman to be honoured with a VC. In heavy action, he fought on despite receiving numerous wounds. Even after his wounds were dressed, he continued to fight, inspiring all those around him.

This photo was taken in London with Katharine Susanna Pritchard in 1916. They were later married in 1919 and later came to live in Greenmount

Sub Lt Frederick Harold Schoch

Frederick Harold Schoch was born in Geraldton on 4 September 1918 to Frederick Sr and Merle. His father taught at several country schools and Parkerville Primary School from 1934 to1953.

Fred enrolled in engineering at the University of Western Australia in 1935, lived at St George’s College, and completed his five-year degree course in August 1939. In December 1939 he accepted a position as Assistant Engineer at Cooperative Bulk Handling. Fred joined the Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve on 1 October 1940 as an Engineer Sub-Lieutenant.

He transferred to the Permanent Naval Forces on 13 August 1941 with the rank of Temporary Sub-Lieutenant (Engineer) on probation and was posted to HMAS Sydney on the same day. On 15 October 1941 the Sydney returned to Fremantle after patrolling in the Indian Ocean and he and Mary Elizabeth (Betty) Ross were married in Claremont that afternoon. The Sydney sailed the following day, returned to Fremantle on 10 November and departed at dawn the next morning for its rendezvous with the Kormoran.

Kormoran disguised as the Dutch merchant ship Straat Malacca enticed HMAS Sydney closer with confusing flag messages and radio calls and when only one-kilometre apart Kormoran opened fire with both guns and torpedoes. In just under one hour the Sydney was little more than a “flaming wreck”. Sadly there were no survivors.

Sub-Lieutenant (Engineer) Fred Schoch and Padre Symes


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