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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916

CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916

Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916

Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916

Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

L/Cpl 17845 Harry Harper

  • Age: 28
  • From: Bootle, Liverpool
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
  • K.I.A Tuesday 11th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.
On enlistment on 04th September 1914, Harry gave his age as 27 years and 351 days which, if correct, indicates that he was born on or about 18th September 1886 in Bootle, the 4th of 8 children and the third son of Andrew Harper, a dock labourer, and his wife Alice (nee Oxton) who married at St Mary’s, Walton on 29th November 1877. 
He was baptised at St Peter's Church, Liverpool on 08th October 1886.

The 1891 Census shows the family, consisting of Andrew, a mariner, his wife and their five young children at 33 Moore Street, Bootle. It also shows John Dickson, his wife Jemima and their two children – James aged 9 years and Elizabeth 5 years, living in nearby Falconer Street, Bootle. Jemima was Andrew Harper’s sister. She had first married William George Murrow in January 1871 but following his death she married John Dickson in April 1877. Jemima Dickson died in February 1899, closely followed by her husband, and the 1901 Census shows their two children, James and Elizabeth, living with their aunt and uncle, Alice and Andrew Harper, and their 8 children at 65 Scott Street, Bootle. Harry was shown as a clerk at an estate agents.

The 1911 Census finds the family living at 1 Ince Avenue, Litherland. Mother Alice (married 33 years, 9 children born alive and 8 still living) with children Andrew, Arthur, Agnes, Lillian, James plus James and Elizabeth Dickson (cousins). The 1911 Census finds Father, Andrew at 64 Calder Street, Everton he is shown as a boarder here (married 32 years). Alice died in 1911. There is no identifiable record for Harry in 1911.

On 04th September 1914, Harry Harper enlisted at St George's Hall in Liverpool joining the 19th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment as Private 17845. He gave his age as 27 years and 351 days and his employment as a clerk. He was described as being 5 ft  6“inches tall, weighing 126 lbs with a 35 inch chest, fresh complexion, grey eyes, dark brown hair. He stated his religion as Church of England.

Formed on 07th September 1914 the 19th Battalion trained locally at Sefton Park and remained living at home or in rented accommodation until November 1914. They then moved to the hutted accommodation at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 19th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. 

On 06th June 1915 he married his cousin Elizabeth Dickinson at St.Matthew's C.of E. Church, Bootle. Harry was a soldier living at 23 Oak Street, Bootle at the time of his marriage. Following his marriage he changed his nominated Next of Kin from his brother (Arthur or Andrew) of 23 Oak Street, Bootle, to Elizabeth. and embarked for France on 7th November 1915. Earlier in the year, on 8th August while at Belton Camp he had been confined to barracks for 4 days for “shaving his upper lip”. On 24th August 1915 he was promoted to Lance Corporal(Unpaid) and on 19th March 1916 to Paid Lance Corporal just a week after having admitted to 22 Field Hospital suffering from a dental abscess. 

Harry was killed in action on 11th July 1916 during the fighting for Trones Wood.

The murderous fighting that went on inside Trones Wood rendered it impossible to put specific dates on some of the casualties which is why many of the 17th Battalion losses have been bracketed as killed in action between 10th – 12th July 1916. The conditions are best described in the following passage from Everard Wyrall’s book The History of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) Volume II. 

The remembrance of Trones Wood in July 1916 to those who passed through it is of a noisome, horrible place, of a tangled mass of trees and undergrowth which had been tossed and flung about in frightful confusion by the shells of both sides. Of the ghastly dead which lay about in all directions, and of DEATH, lurking in every hole and corner with greedy hands ready to snatch the lives of the unwary. The place was Death trap, and although the attacks were made with great determination,   the presence of snipers who could not be detected and often fired into the backs of our men made the clearing of the wood impossible.

Harry's body was not recovered or was subsequently lost as he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”

Soldiers Effects and Pension to widow Elizabeth, who was living at 3 Weaver Street, Breeze Hill, Walton at the time of Harry's death. 

In January 1917, Elizabeth was awarded a widow’s pension of 3/9d (almost 20p) per week.

A report from Liverpool City Police on 31st January 1921, stated that “Mrs Harper still resides at 3 Weaver Street, Walton” and Harry’s three medals were sent to her - none of his effects were found.

Harry is commemorated on the following Memorials:

St Matthew's Church, Bootle.

Bootle Civic Memorial

Salisbury Road Council School now situated in Thomas Gray Primary School, Chestnut Grove, Bootle, 

Harry's death was the second grievous loss the family had suffered in just over a month as his brother James Harper died of wounds on 05th June 1916. 

A death notice appeared in the Evening Express (28-Jul-16)

Rifleman James Harper Kings Liverpool Regiment (Pals) Killed in Action 05-Jun-16

Youngest son of Andrew and the late Alice Harper address late of Bootle.

Although the article refers to James as (Pals) he was in fact serving as Private 2699 with the 1/5th Bn of The Kings Liverpool Regiment when he died. He was aged 19 and rests at Bellacourt Military Cemetery in France at I.G.9.


Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old