Henry was born in Sheffield around June 1895. Henrys family lived in the Firth Park area of Sheffield. He had 3 Brothers and 3 sisters. His mother was called Clara who was a widow.
The reason why I’m writing this story is to keep Henrys memory and knowledge of his sacrifice from been forgotten, although he was not from Doncaster he joined the KOYLI who recruited heavily from the area. I’m not related to Henry but I was given his medals by one of his sisters Eva, she was my grandparents neighbour and she always said hello when I was visiting. Eva gave me the medals to take care of when I was young and with the First World War centenary Ive completed a little research to find more about Henry and his service in the KOYLI and to do my best to keep his memory from disappearing.
Henry would have joined the Army around May 1916 , there’s no information or evidence about when he joined the 8th Battalion KOYLI as the war diaries of the battalion do not list individual replacements. The 8th Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry were part of 70th Brigade in the 8th Division. They were in the area of Hill 60 from 10th May and taking part in preparations for the attack on Messines Ridge. The Germans assaulted the line on the 13th May and resulted in counter raiding by the 70th brigade. The 8th Batt took part in the attack on Messines Ridge on the 7th June 1917 and would have witnessed the large mine explosions at the start of the battle. These explosions rank among the largest non nuclear explosions of all time. The mines exploding at Hill 60 and Caterpillar Hill siganalled the start of the attack. The battalions objective was the German trench called Image Trench and part of Illusive Trench these been the German frontline. The objectives were captured 3hours 40 mins after zero hour and consolidated under the cover of Lewis guns. The 8th Battalion remained in the front until 10th June.
At some part of the attack Henry became 1 of 250 casualties sustained by the 8th Battalion Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry during the Battle.
According to a burial report Henry was initially buried near the front line north east of Zwarte Leen in Belgium. Fortunately after the war Henrys body was identified and was re buried in La Brique Cemetery number 2 north of Ypres. Henry left behind his mother Clara 2 brother and 3 sisters one been Eva who gave me Henrys medals to look after, he also left behind his sweetheart Julia Cooper from Eyam. The inscription on Henrys headstone reads “To our hearts more dear from Mother,Brothers,Sisters”. Henry and his sacrifice will not be forgotten by my family,
Lest We Forget