Hautrie Crick enlisted in Melbourne on 6 August 1940. He was initially assigned to the 2/23rd Training Battalion and in October joined 2/24th Battalion. Soon after his arrival at Tobruk, Hautrie became a runner with 26th Brigade HQ. He remembered waking one morning and being blanketed in sand after a sandstorm.
Hautrie recalled the German artillery bombardments and air attacks, and noted that the giant German gun ‘Bardia Bill' was a particularly troublesome customer. One amusing anecdote he recounted was of a visit by Churchill during which one of the Australian soldiers cheekily asked him for a cigar.
According to Hautrie, conditions were difficult. He remembered the water delivered in petrol containers as being particularly distasteful. He spent a short time attached to 9th Division Signals.
On one occasion, Hautrie was knocked unconscious either by an artillery blast or in the act of jumping for cover. Hautrie said he didn't wake for 3 days and couldn't remember who looked after him. He never reported to the medical officers afterward and never suffered adversely as a result.
On return to Australia, the Brigade was sent to the Pacific where Hautrie served at Tarakan.
He was discharged on 17 December 1945, having attained the rank of Lance Corporal.