Alfred was thought to have been born in 1897, if his age of 21 years at death is correct. He was the son of Thomas and Theresa Harwood of Hobart in Tasmania. By the end of the war his mother had remarried and was Mrs R Stevenson. He had at least one brother Harry and probably a second Jack, and a sister Eileen.
Alfred applied to enlist on 21 August stating his age as 18 years 6 months, and as required his mother signed the form as he was under 21 years of age. His Attestation form was completed on 6 September that year.
On 11 March Alfred embarked in Sydney on the ship HMAT "Orsova" heading for Egypt. By 14 April he was in the 4th Auxillary Hospital in Cairo with bronchitis listed as diptheric. He recovered and travelled first to the United Kingdom then on to France in September. He reported to the Field Ambulance station in both November and December with laryngitis. In late December he was back in hospital with severe trench feet.
On 14 January Alfred was invalided to the County of London War Hospital. Subsequent official documents show he was improving by mid February and was discharged back to his unit in March and returned to serve again in France. On 28 April he was transferred from 20th Battalion to 63rd Battalion. He was later noted absent without leave for one day on 9 September and was duly docked a days pay. Throughout 1917 and on through 1918 his family made numerous attempts to ascertain his safety and whereabouts with limited success but copies of all the correspondence between the Army and the family are included in his Biographic file.
Alfred continued to serve in France for the first half of the year. He was killed by a sniper shot on 10 July near Villers Brettoneux. According to eye-witness accounts he had just returned from a recce in No-Mans Land and climbed back into his trench. A shot rang out and he called out “Missed” before a second shot killed him instantly. Alfred was buried in the Hamelet Australian Cemetery behind the lines but in 1919 his body was exhumed and transferred to Crucifix Corner British Cemetery.
Alfred's personal effects were sent to his mother as specified in his will and all three standard issue medals were also sent to her. The effects comprised 2 discs, wallet, photos, cards, YMCA wallet, a small tin, ribbons and pressed flowers. Finally photos of his grave were also made available to the family.