William Alfred Harrison

Date of birth: 1893
Place of birth: Brockenhurst
Regiment: Hampshire
Battalion: 2nd
Rank / Service No: Private, 3999
Died: 5th July 1916, aged 22 years
Buried: Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart, France (D.44)

 

William was the second of 8 known siblings born to William and Annie Harrison (nee Chamberlain), who married in Lymington in 1888.

The couple had 10 children, so it must be assumed that two died in infancy.

 

There is no proof that William had anything to do with Southampton; official records have him as living at 27 Heysham Road, Shirley at some point.

 

Both parents were born in Brockenhurst, William in 1862 and Annie in 1871.

William died in the village in 1918, and Annie died in the New Forest in 1933.

 

Siblings 

Emily Annie b. 1892 Brockenhurst   d. 31 May 1966 Auckland   Married Gifford Gladstone Bowern in Southampton in 1917. The couple left Plymouth on 14 July 1919, bound for New Zealand. Gifford died in Auckland on 9 June 1962.

William Alfred 

Eva Edith   b. 1896 Brockenhurst   d. 1974 Southampton   Married Colin L. Cargill in Lymington in 1917.

James Henry   b. 1899 Brockenhurst   d. 1973 New Forest

Frank   b. 1902 Brockenhurst   d. 1912 Brockenhurst

Louisa RHODA Daisy   b. 1904 Brockenhurst   d. 1977 Bishop’s Waltham   Married Francis W. Bailey in Lymington in 1935.

Leonard ARTHUR   b. 1906 Brockenhurst   d. 1992 Bishop’s Waltham   Married Edith D. Pink in Gosport in 1950.

Bertram Stanley   b. 1909 Brockenhurst   d. 1977 New Forest  Married Dorothy M. Brown in Lymington in 1929.

 

William’s unit was mobilised in August 1914 and was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force.

He would have taken part in the Battle of and the Retreat from Mons, and the Battles of the Marne and the Aisne.

 

William lost his life on the fifth day of the Battle of Albert (1-13July 1916); it is the official name for the British efforts in the first two weeks of the First Battle of the Somme.

 

A generally chaotic 2 weeks, with huge Commonwealth losses and seen overall as a military disaster.

 

The cemetery, named after a communication trench, was begun at the outset of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

 

It was used by units fighting on that front until the German withdrawal in February 1917 and again from the end of March to July 1918, when the German advance brought the front back to the Ancre.

 

More graves were brought in after the Armistice from isolated plots around Mesnil.

 

The cemetery now holds 548 Commonwealth WW1 burials.

 

 

 

 

Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 6th September 2016
Updated:

 

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