Private 12335 James Harris

Killed in Action on Monday, 12th November 1917, age 33.
Commemorated on Bay 6 of Arras Memorial, Pas De Calais, France.

7th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 33rd Brigade of 11th Division.

Husband of Mrs Phoebe Harris, of 13 Providence Street, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: West Bromwich, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Great Bridge.

First landed Balkans, 6th October 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton 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/785475/

Genealogical Data

Marriage of James Harris and Phoebe Barker registered December quarter 1907 in Dudley.

1911 Census
14 Providence Street, Great Bridge, Tipton, Staffs.
Phoebe Barker (49, Head of household, Widow, Charwoman, born Dudley), her daughter Mrs Phoebe Harris (27, born Tipton), her son-in-law Mr James Harris (27, Glass Blower, born West Bromwich), and James and Phoebe's 2 children: May (2, born Tipton 27th October 1908), and James (4 months, born Tipton 13th December 1910). A third child, Gertrude Alice, was born on 22nd June 1916.

Phoebe's address in 1918 (per Pensions Records) was 13 Providence Street, Tipton.

Personal Data

James's widow, Mrs Phoebe Harris, was awarded a pension of £1/9/7d (1 pound, 9 shillings and 7 pence) for herself and their 3 children with effect from 15th July 1918. Additionally, a grant of £5 was paid to her on 1st July 1918.

After James's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £11/6/0d (11 pounds and 6 shillings); this was paid to his widow, Phoebe, in August 1918. His War Gratuity was £14/10/0d (14 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to Phoebe in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that James had enlisted in approximately September 1914.

Action resulting in his death

On 7th November 1917 the 7th South Staffs moved to Cité St. Pierre, 1 mile north-west of Lens, where they were comfortably accommodated in the cellars of houses. They spent two days providing carrying parties for a 'dummy' raid by other units of the 33rd Brigade. The 7th South Staffs were ".. ordered to send a party of 100 men, loaded with 18 and 24-foot beams, triangles, dummies and other impedimentia necessary for a dummy raid, which was intended to camouflage a real raid by the West Yorkshires on our left." The dummy raid was carried out at 9.00am on 10th November, the real raid was made by 9th West Yorkshires of the 32nd Infantry Brigade on No.4 Brickstack in the Loos Sector.

7th South Staffs War Diary, 11th November 1917
9 Officers and 415 Other Ranks were employed on various fatigues during the night 11th/12th November carrying Trench Mortar ammunition to the trenches, repairing communication trenches etc. A patrol consisting of 2/Lieut. E. COX, 2 N.C.O.s and 12 men left our lines from the Left battalion front, for the object of finding out strength of enemy wire after the wire cutting by Trench Mortar Batteries and RFA, to ascertain condition of ground in No Man’s Land, & reconnoitre shell holes in front of enemy wire. This patrol came into contact with the enemy who occupied the shell holes, and was driven in.
Pte. 45349 H. BODY and Pte. 12335 J. HARRIS.

Both Body and Harris were lost in this incident and neither has a known grave. The Birmingham Post article of 14th June 1918 says that the death of James Harris was reported by the German Government, this suggests that he may have been wounded in the patrol and either captured or his body found by the Germans.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 14th June 1918
Previously reported missing, now reported by the German Government killed or died of wounds.
S. STAFFS. R.- Harris, 12335, J., (Tipton).