Courtney Thomas Harris

Date of birth: 4th quarter 1890
Place of birth: Leeds
Date of marriage: 1912
Place of marriage: Lambeth
Service No.: 105469
Rank: Lance Sergeant
Regiment / Division: East Ontario Regiment
Battalion: Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry
Died: 8th November 1918 aged 27 years
Death location: Belgium

 

Before the War
Courtney was born in Leeds in 1890 to Thomas Watson (1859 – 1908) and Sarah Harris (nee Burnett 1864 – 8/11/1931).  Courtney states on his Canadian Attestation Papers that he was born in Southampton on 18th September 1891 but there is no record for any birth in Southampton on Ancestry or Free BMD.  His parents were married in Ryde, Isle of Wight in 1883.  On the 1881 Census Courtney’s father is boarding at Church Lane, Ryde and is studying Medicine.

Courtney’s siblings were:

Vera b.1883 – d.18.11.1960.  Married George F James in Southampton in 1914.
Cyril James Watson b.1886 – d.13.08.1946.  Married Mabel Gertrude (last name unknown).
Millicent Bessie b.1888 – d.1976.
Frank Oswald b.1892 – d.15.09.1944.  Married Vera Maiden in Brighton in 1923. Frank served in the Indian Army Officers Reserve in WWI and was awarded the Military Cross ‘for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty’.  He also served as a Captain in the Royal Artillery in WWII and died at the Drill Hall, Aberdeen.
Marjorie b.14.01.1895 – d.1975.  Married Walter G Warwick in London in 1918.

 

On the 1891 census, which was taken on 5th April 1891, Courtney is shown as aged 6 months and is living with his family at 57 Caledonian Road, Leeds.  His father is employed as a Chemist.

By the 1901 census Courtney and his family are living at 15 Fourpost Hill, Southampton.  His father continues to work as a Chemist.

By the time of the 1911 census Courtney is living with his widowed mother and siblings at 75 Millbrook Road, Freemantle, Southampton.  He is working as a Clerk at a Mineral Water Manufacturers.   Father Thomas had died on 1st June 1908.

Courtney married Marjorie M Stride in Lambeth, London in 1912.  Courtney sailed from Liverpool aboard SS Lake Eerie on 10th April 1912 and arrived in St John, New Brunswick, Canada on 22nd April 1912.  His wife Marjorie and daughter Peggy sailed from Liverpool aboard SS Teutonic on 27th July 1912 and arrived in Quebec on 3rd August 1912.

Courtney’s children were:

Peggy (b.1912)  b. Southampton, England
Gerald (b.1914)  b. Saskatchewan, Canada
Frank (b.1916)  b. Saskatchewan, Canada

On the 1916 Canadian census the family was living in Regina, Saskatchewan but Peggy is not listed on this census.

 

Military History
Courtney was working as a Clerk when he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 2nd December 1915.  His address at the time was 1568 Rae Street, Regina, Saskatoon where he lived with his family.

When he was posted overseas Courtney was part of the 68th Canadian Infantry Battalion.  He joined the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Battalion in the field on 10th June 1916.

Courtney was killed in action on 8th November 1918 during the final advance on Mons, Belgium.

On his Casualty Report it states:
‘He accompanied an officer on a reconnoitering expedition near Pt. d’Hautrages and neither one returned.  The body of Lance Sergeant Harris was later found at a point about 150 yards East of the road from Thulin to Ville-Pommeroeul, and South of the Canal.  He had been shot in the heart and death must have been instantaneous’

Courtney was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

Courtney was originally buried near Pont D’Hautrage on the bank of the Mons Canal, but was later exhumed and buried at the Hautrage Communal Cemetery.  The grave is at the South end of the Cemetery and is the only Commonwealth burial at this Cemetery.

Courtney is also remembered on his family’s grave at Southampton Old Cemetery, Ref K2 Grave 43.  Also buried here is his brother Frank Oswald.

Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Published.: 24th February 2014
Updated: 17th March 2016

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