On 16 June 1915, Jack Harris boarded a troopship in Sydney Harbour and set sail for Egypt with the 6th batch of volunteers sent to reinforce the 2nd Battalion AIF. Leading the 6th Reinforcements was 32-year-old Lieutenant Everard Digges La Touche.
In camp outside Cairo, Harris and the other volunteers became mates and trained for war, all the while struggling to acclimatise in the July heat. Harris’ experience as a cadet and enthusiasm was quickly recognised and he was promoted to lance corporal. As plans for the Lone Pine attack took shape on map tables on Gallipoli, La Touche, Harris and 136 other reinforcements sailed from Alexandria to join their battalion at Anzac Cove. During the sea passage to Gallipoli, La Touche took time to write to Harris’ mother:
In the Mediterranean
My Dear Madam
Your son, L/Cpl Harris, is with me & I shall try to keep him with me throughout the campaign. He is a gallant little chap with the greatest of military virtues – faithfulness – and as such is of very great assistance to his officers. If he had a few years more to his credit, he would make a fine officer. Meanwhile he is doing his duty without a thought of self and will serve his country as an Australian gentleman should.
I will try to keep him with me and to see after him as far as I can. Otherwise my power is very limited; but we are both in God’s hands & He doeth all things well.
ED La Touche