Edwin John Harris

Date of birth: Q1 (Jan – Mar) 1890
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 241392
Rank: Private
Regiment: Hampshire
Battalion: 1st/5th
Died: 13th June 1919 aged 29 years
Death location: Kohat, India


Life before the war
Edwin John Harris was born in 1890 in Southampton to parents Hannah (nee Giles) and William Edwin.  His mother Hannah was born in 1862 in Berkshire and his father William was born in 1868 in Southampton.  They married in 1889 and had six children including Edwin.

Edwin’s younger siblings – 2 brothers and 3 sisters – were:

Mabel born 1893 in Southampton.  Date of death unknown.

Beatrice Maud born 1895 in Southampton.  Married Edward George Edwin Payne in 1918.  Died 9th October 1960.

Thomas born 1898 in Southampton.  Date of death unknown.

Rosina born 27th September 1900 in Southampton.  Married George Sims in 1919.  Died in 1980.

Harry born 1902 in Southampton.  Date of death unknown.

The 1911 census shows that the family was living at Eastfield Road, St Denys in Southampton.  Edwin’s father William was a seaman and Edwin himself was still living at home and working as a Royal Mail Dock Labourer at the age of 21.

Edwin married Emily Read in the summer of 1911 and they had two children together:

Frederick Albert E born 10th July 1912.  Married Bessie G Skinner in 1936.  Died in 1998.

Ivy Edna May born in 1913.  Married William Smart in 1933.  Died in 1996.

Edwin’s mother Hannah died in 1935.  His father William died in 1944.


War Service
Edwin was a Private in the Hampshire Regiment 1st/5th Battalion.  The Regiment  sailed from Southampton on the 9th October 1914 to India, via Malta and Suez, and arrived in Karachi on the 11th November 1914.  The battalion remained in India until late 1919.

It’s unknown exactly when Edwin joined the Battalion but he was serving with them in 1919 when the Battalion joined the 2/7th and 2/9th Ghurkhas and the 46th Mobile Indian Brigade at Kohat for service in the Third Afghan War.  They took up positions outside the town but were attacked by approximately 400 hill men, although they suffered no losses.  Conditions in Kohat however were difficult and unpleasant with temperatures reaching over 50 degrees Celsius in the tents, lack of water and hardly any rations.  There was also an outbreak of Cholera which lead to several deaths in the Battalion.

Edwin died on the 13th June 1919 at Kohat in India at the age of 29.  His exact cause of death is unknown although it’s likely he died from disease and not during combat.  He was buried at Kohat Cemetery but is remembered with honour at the Delhi Memorial (India Gate).

Edwin was entitled to the British War medal and the Indian General Service medal with Afghanistan 1919 clasp.


Researcher: Louise Link
Published: 9th January 2016
Updated: Insert dates here

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