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Harry Haslam was the son of Thomas and Eva Haslam of 119, Chorley Street, Bolton, Lancashire.

Harry managed to enlist in the Army twice, within five days of each other. He gave the same address on enlistment, but signed different terms of service and was given two numbers.

Firstly, on 15th May 1915, he went into the recruitment office in Bolton and signed up for 4 years service in the Territorial Force, he was given the service number 4623. He stated he was 18 years old.

Then, on 20th May 1915, he went back into the same recruitment office and enlisted for ‘one years embodied service at home’ in the Territorial Force. He was posted into the 5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and given the service number 4833 (in 1917 he was given the new style number 242279). This time he stated he was 19 years old.

It was found out later that Harry was in fact only 16 years old. He was single and was lived at home with his parents at 119, Chorley Street, Bolton. He had been working as a weaver.

At his enlistment medical he was described as being 5ft 5in, with a 34in chest and of good physical development.

In September 1915, due to his age, he was transferred to serve in the 42nd Prov Battalion where he remained on this ‘home’ duty for the next 12 months.

In September 1916, Harry was posted into the 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancs. During this period he was part of ‘A’ Company, living in Hut 9, Park Hall Camp, Oswestry.

In September 1917, now aged 18 and able to serve overseas, Harry gained qualifications as a 1st Class Signaler, and a 1st Class Shot.

On 8th December 1917, Harry sailed for France to join the Battalion in the field. He sailed from Folkstone, and landed in Boulogne.

On 12th January 1918 he was admitted to the Field Ambulance as being sick, but rejoined the Battalion later that day.

On 9th April 1918, Harry was reported as being ‘Missing in action’ – it later transpired that he had been taken as a prisoner of war and was being held in Germany at the Darmstadt POW camp. He had the POW number Y237904.

The action on 9th April was on the Festubert-Givenchy line, where early in the morning the Germans were found to be heavily bombarding the whole divisional front. Unfortunately this weakened the Portuguese troops that were on the left of the Division causing them to retire, which completely exposed the 55th’s flank.

The German infantry now attacked, and owing to the thick fog that morning, they were allowed to get so close to the British that they could not be engaged until they were within 20 – 30 yards. The Germans succeeded in their objective and breeched the 164th Brigades front, even managing to overrun their headquarters, and several other key areas

Eventually a counter-attack was organised which forced the Germans back.By the end of the day the Brigade had won back every inch of the ground they had temporarily lost. Casualties numbered around 44 killed, 100 wounded and 50 soldiers were missing.

It is believed that Harry Haslam died in captivity in Germany on 17th October 1918. At the time of his death he was just 19 years old.

The official notification of his death arrived at the Regimental Barracks, Fulwood on 29th March 1919.

Private Harry Haslam is buried at the Ronse (Renaix) Communal Cemetery.

Thank you to Jacques for taking this photograph  for the website - April 2013

Thank you to Jacques for taking this photograph for the website – April 2013

Rank: Private
Service No: 242279
Date of Death: 18/10/1918
Age: 19
Regiment: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

For his war service, Private Harry Haslam was awarded the British War Medal, and Victory Medal.

Paul McCormick
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2 Responses to 242279 PTE. H. HASLAM. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Harry will get a visit tomorrow (8/6/2014) from a friend and me. Check https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pipers-Remembering-WWI/1409312772653074 for more details.

  2. Stephen & Nancy Binks says:

    My wife and I visited Ronse communal cemetery in August of this year (2017), as part of SomeKIndHand Pilgrimage. On Harry’s cwgc burial record it suggests that he was held prisoner in a factory in Renaix (now Ronse), West Flanders?
    Trying to establish if he escaped from Germany prior to his death. His unit was some distance from here in October 1918; Lille, I think.

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