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William Harrison was born in Preston in 1896 to William and Ellen Harrison (nee Otley) who had married in St. Peter`s Church in Preston on Christmas Eve 1883. The couple had at least seven children and all of them with the exception of William had died in infancy. William Senior`s job was a machine stone mason and by 1901 four year old William and his parents had left central Preston and had moved across the river to live in Penwortham Lane, Penwortham (now known as Leyland Road).

By 1911 the three of them had moved back over the River Ribble to live in Preston again, their home address being 45 Villiers Street where William Snr. was working for a building contractor as a stone planer.

Prior to his enlistment William married Ellen Cragg at St. Thomas`s Church in 1915 and a son was born later that year and they named him William after his father. At the time William was employed by Messrs. Vincent`s Plumbers and Painters of Cambridge Street in Preston.

Although William`s service papers no longer exist and therefore the precise date of his enlistment is unknown, later information suggests that he joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at some time around September 1916. William spent the next few months training in England before embarking for France with a batch of reinforcements around March/April 1917. After spending a couple of weeks at the Base Depot he was then posted to the 10th Battalion LNL.

The 10th Battalion came under the command of the 112th Brigade in the 37th Division and in April 1917 which is about the time William arrived the Battalion was involved in the spring offensive around Arras where they suffered heavy casualties.

After Arras the 37th Division was given some time to reorganise and was sent to what was generally described as `quiet sectors` of the line. The 112th Brigade spent most of its time in the Kemmel sector until well into September 1917. On the 23rd September the Division relieved the 39th Division in the Menin area, the Battalion taking over the line from a unit of the 118th Brigade just on the right of the Tower Hamlets in Shrewsbury Forest. Whilst the relief was being carried out 2nd Lieutenants H.N. King and G. Brydon and twenty men were wounded. Casualties began to mount up and after just four days in the line, 94 men in all had been killed and wounded.

On the 27th September William himself became one of the casualties, he was carried from the battlefield and taken to the 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station where sadly he succumbed to his wounds the following day.

After news of his death reached his parents in Preston they informed the Preston Guardian who later printed the following article;

32033 Private William Harrison 10th Battalion

After his death William was buried with honour in Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension in Bailleul.

William`s wife would later receive his Memorial Plaque and Scroll together with his British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service and sacrifice for his country.

William is also remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Library in Preston.

On the one year anniversary of his death William`s parents had the following memorial notice printed in the Lancashire Evening Post;

27th September 1918

In memory of Private William Harrison, died of wounds in France, September 27th 1917

“God gave us a son to bless our lives
But he fell early in the strife
Our only begotten son
He with his comrades marched away
And then a message came one day
Dear Lord, we had but one
But, oh dear Lord tis hard to bear
With not another child to spare
The earth when day is done
We can but kneel to thee and pray,
To bear our grief for Thee and say,
Thy will be done
God be with you till we meet again”

From Father and Mother and his little son, 168 Villiers Street, Preston

Rank: Private
Service No: 32033
Date of Death: 28/09/1917
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 10th Bn.

Janet Davis
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5 Responses to 32033 PTE. W. HARRISON. L.N.LAN.R.

  1. Brian Taylor says:

    Have just found William Harrison on your site.
    He is my grandmother’s (Ellen Cragg) first husband who we knew very little about because it wasn’t mentioned in the family. We have been trying to trace him for years and came upon it today whilst accessing your site for the first time. We spotted it because it was one of your recent additions. Thank you so very much. Sadly we have no photos or extra info which we can give you.

  2. Thanks Brian, glad you found the article.

  3. Darren Taylor says:

    Hi Janet. Like you I too have been researching William on and off for a number of years, but you have done a much better job than I have and have filled in a lot of gaps. I’m William Harrison’s great grandson. His son Richard was my grandad. Thank you so much for this and please feel free to get in touch with me.

  4. Like you Brian, I’ve also just found this website and can fill in some gaps here. There is some information about William on here that i didn’t know about, so for that Janet I would like to say thank you. William Harrison was my great grandad. Sadly he lost a leg before he died. His son was called Richard Harrison who was my grandad. Richard married and was a father to 3 daughters. He served in WW2 and survived. My mum still has a locket with a picture of William and a lock of his hair.

  5. Brian Taylor says:

    Hi Darren
    I have only just revisited this site and hadn’t expected anyone else to post information. So for that I am sorry to have left it so long. Hopefully you will read this email.
    My Grandmother was Ellen Cragg who married William Harrison I think in 1915. Do you have any more information about your grandfather, Richard? Could he have been Ellen & Williams son? and if so, do you have any idea why Ellen didn’t bring up the child. We knew nothing about Richard. Do you know who brought him up and where he lived?
    I hope this message reaches you.
    Brian Taylor

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