The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Angelo Enrico
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion
- Place of Birth:
- Gwalia, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Bernard Mazza
- Mothers's Name:
- Elena Boudoni Mazza
- Non denominational
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Epitaph, Singapore Memorial, Column 135, Age 22.
- Cause of Death:
- Killed In Action
- Place of Death:
- South-West Bukit Timah
- Date of Death:
- Believed killed in the vicinity of the atap huts at map reference 752148.
Mazza was believed killed in the vicinity of atap huts at map reference 752148 during the Japanese ambush on 11 February 1942 at South West Bukit Timah. 88 of 200 men from ‘E’ Company survived.
Harry Mazza enlisted with AIF August 1940 and later joined 2/4th. During 1941, the 2/4th were sent to Woodside, SA for training purposes and then onto Darwin. At the end of 1941 the Australian Government agreed to Churchill’s request for additional troops in Singapore, under pressure Curtin agreed. It would be the last time and Curtin prevented half of 2/3rd returning from ME from sailing into Java. Those who did arrive in Java did not have much in the way of munitions and equipment with them, it was loaded onto another ship. They were all taken POWs in March 1942.
The 2/4th originally trained for war in the Middle East. Now the Battalion was to join the ill-fated 8th Division at Singapore which had already retreated from Malaya.
The ‘Aquitania’ transporting 2/4th and other battalions to Singapore anchored off Fremantle, Gage Roads on night 15th January 1942 to pick up fresh supplies and reinforcements for 2/4th. Lt Mazza was transferred to ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion recently formed to take up the reinforcements who arrived from Northam to board ‘Aquitania’ ready to sail the following day on 16 Jan 1942. Unbelievably, the reinforcements were mostly new recruits, many were young with very little training. Some men enlisted as late as early December 1941. These inexperienced new recruits didn’t stand a chance when they ran into a Japanese ambush at Bukit Timah on 11 February 1942 which was where Harry and nearly all the officers were KIA.
Harry’s mother Elena was born Sondrio, Lombardia, Italy. She was one of the youngest in a large family. With her sister Theresa and at least two of her brothers Elena came to WA. She married Bernardo Mazza in 1915 at Mt Margaret. Bernard or Barney as he was known, also came to WA from Italy.
Below: Bernard Mazza purchases a boarding house in Gwalia in 1917.
Bernard Mazza is Natrualised 1922.
Harry was youngest of six sons born to the Mazza family. There were other brothers who enlisted. Eldest son Lorenzo Angelo was married when he enlisted, remaining in Australia with No. 2 Australian Base Ordinance Store. Victor served overseas with 4th Australian Infantry Battalion and returned home. Victor married in 1942, and in about 1949, it is believed he and his wife purchased what became known as Mazza’s Store in Gwalia. This building is only one of two buildings standing today in historic Gwalia.
The Mazza family endured a tragedy when in July 1932, Bernard Mazza, father of the six sons, committed suicide. At the time he was being treated by a doctor. Today his illness would probably have been treated successfully. Bernard Mazza was living in a ramshackle area known as ‘Gwalia Block’ located close to the mine where most miners lived, with close proximity to mine and easier with shift work, whilst their families resided in tin and hessian cottages on surveyed lots further away.
Widowed Elena Mazza was then mother to 6 sons aged up to16 years. She died in 1979.
Harry was a most likeable and very popular young man. His death was an unbearable loss to the Mazza family and to 2/4th mates.
From Kalgoorlie Miner, 6 June 1945.