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Henry Watkin Lewis was born in Pontypool, Monmouthshire at the beginning of 1886.

When war was declared in August 1914 Henry, who was at this time 28 years 8 months old and working as a boiler maker, enlisted in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston. Henry provided the name and address of his aunt, Rachel Dunning of 163 Court Street, Tonypandy; as being his legal next of kin.

At his enlistment medical he was described as being 5ft 2in tall, weighing 116lbs with a 35in chest. He had blue eyes, brown hair and was of a fresh complexion with a scar on the bridge of his nose and lower lip.

Henry had no previous military service. He was posted into the newly raised 6th (Service) Battalion and given the number 11424. He must have been an extremely competent soldier despite his lack of experience – he was appointed Lance Corporal just a fortnight after joining, promoted to Corporal within 3 weeks and then Lance Serjeant by the middle of October.

The final note on his record states he was discharged on 16th January 1915 as being ‘not likely to become an efficient soldier’. Given his form up to this date, the reason for his discharge must have been medical related rather than a concern about his ability. He had served exactly 150 days.

Henry died on 23rd April 1915 in Warminster, Wiltshire. The reason for his being in Wiltshire is not known, and despite having been discharged he was given a Commonwealth War Grave bearing the details of his former Regiment. His name does not appear on the record of soldiers that died in the Great War.


On the 100th Anniversary of Henry’s death, Jonathan and Sandy Ince (formerly of Preston) kindly laid some flowers at his grave as a way of thanks, noting the fact that Henry rests a long way from home.

Rank: Lance Serjeant
Service No: 11424
Date of Death: 23/04/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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