Private 48391 Frederick Harris

Harris Frederick 96 420x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 12th October 1918, age 19.
Buried in Grave IV. C. 21. at Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France.

1st/5th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 137th Brigade of 46th Division.

of 110 Dudley Road, Tividale, Staffs.
Born: Netherton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Augustine's Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/274153/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
14 Tipton Road, Rowley Regis, Staffs.
William Harris (29, Coal Miner, born Rowley Regis), his wife Mary A. (24, born Tipton), and their 2 children: Mary A. (4, born Rowley Regis), and Frederick (2, born Rowley Regis).

1911 Census
108 Dudley Road, Tividale, Staffs.
William Harris (35, Canal Boatman, born Rowley Regis), his wife Mary Ann (34, born Tipton), and their 6 surviving children of 10: Mary Ann (14, born Wednesbury), Frederick (12, School, born Dudley), Florence (9, School, born Rowley Regis), Thomas (7, School, born Rowley Regis), Benjamin (4, born Rowley Regis), and Edith Matilda (1, born Rowley Regis).

Personal Data

Frederick Harris is also commemorated in the Roll of Honour for the Tividale Ward.

After Frederick's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £0/14/10d (14 shillings and 10 pence); this was paid to his father, William, in April 1920. His War Gratuity was £5/0/0d (5 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in April 1920. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Frederick had enlisted in approximately July 1917.

Action resulting in his death

Frederick Harris arrived in France at an unknown date after 1915, so missed the 1/5th South Staffs' disastrous day at the Hohenzollern Redoubt in October 1915. It is possible that he was present at their second disastrous day, 1st July 1916 at Gommecourt, but he would have been in action on 29th September 1918, the day the 46th (North Midlands) Division reputation was finally restored - "the day the Staffords won the war".

The Hindenburg Line, the final truly defensible German defence line, was to be breached on 29th September 1918. The 46th Division stormed the St. Quentin Canal between Bellenglise and the Riqueval Bridge, captured the Riqueval Bridge itself, and took the village of Bellenglise.

The offensive continued and on the 3rd October 1918 the Staffs attacked Sequehart. The battalion reached its objective by about 8.00am, outposts were pushed forward to Mannequin Hill but later had to be withdrawn owing to the intense enfilade machine gun fire. The Division was in the line again on 9th and 10th October during the "Battle of Cambrai, 1918," when rapid progress was made until they were stopped at Riquerval Wood.

At 12.00 on the 12th October, the 1/5th South Staffs made an attack on Riquerval Wood, north of St. Quentin. On the right they made good progress into the wood, but were forced to retire owing to an extremely heavy barrage of all calibre shells and heavy trench mortars.

Frederick was one of 19 men of the 1/5th South Staffs killed on 12th October 1918. Frederick was one of the majority of these casualties moved to Plot IV of Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension after the war, from a wide area between Cambrai and Guise.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 20th December 1918
Previously reported wounded, now reported wounded and missing.
South Staffs Regiment, Harris, 48391, F., (Tipton).