Before the war, Percy Hawea Harbutt was a building contractor in partnership with his brother Helier Harbutt, operating as Harbutt Bros. They were involved in developing land around Mosman, Cremorne and Neutral Bay, including a number of land subdivisions in the Mosman municipality. Another brother, Lawrence Harbutt was a real estate agent. Both businesses operated from Harbutt’s Building on the corner of Military Road, Macpherson and Parraween Streets, Cremorne. He was also a keen tennis player and at one time was Captain of Mosman Tennis Club.
Percy lived in Murdoch Street, Cremorne on one of the Harbutt Bros subdivisions. In February 1914 he left Australia on a 12 months overseas trip with his wife, Ann Bentham Eunice (nee Barlow) whom he had married in February 1913.
While in England, after war broke out, he joined the Golders Green (London) unit of the Volunteer Training Corps. At the time, the Corps was a self-supporting citizen force recognised by the War Office but independently organised and armed. Its members were required to have genuine reasons for not joining the regular armed forces. As the war went on, the Corps’ legal status and organisational arrangements changed to being integrated into the national defence force in support of the war effort.
Percy returned to Sydney in February 1915 and returned to England later that year and arrived in January 1916. On 10 March 1917, he was appointed as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps in a technical role due to his expertise in timber and construction. He served in France with the 8th Squadron and his active service continued until 21 December 1918. He was placed on the unemployed list on 19 June 1919.
After his return to Australia, Percy continued to live in the Cremorne-Mosman area as well as his country house in Orange, New South Wales. At the time of his death on 29 November 1959, he was living at 4 Spofforth Street, Cremorne.added by johnbryan
Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980, Ancestry.com
Death Notice, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 December 1959 (Ryerson Index)
Harbutt, Percy Hawea, Date of Birth: 28 September 1877, Royal Air Force officers' service records 1918-1919, AIR 76/208/23, The National Archives (UK)
Mosman (Tennis Club) Captaincy, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 March 1911, p12.
Sands Directories: Sydney and New South Wales, Australia, 1858-1933, Ancestry.com
Social Items (marriage), Sunday Times (Sydney), 16 February 1913, p4.
The London Gazette, Issue 29993, 20 Match 1917, p 2757
The London Gazette, Issue 30104, 29 May 1917, p 5345
The London Gazette, Issue 31830, 19 March 1920, p 3457
War Area, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 February 1915, p 15