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ยป Francis Ingleby Harrison
 
 

Francis Ingleby Harrison

Lieutenant Francis Ingleby HARRISON
1st Royal West Kent Regiment

Date of birth: 27 April 1883
Date of death: 8 May 1918

Killed in action aged 35
Buried in Aire Communal Cemetery Plot II J 9

Francis Ingleby was born at Underwood House, Hornsey, Middlesex , the youngest of the nine children of the Reverend John James Harrison, a chaplain and Naval Instructor, and his wife Louise Edith. On 1 July 1883 he was baptised at St John’s Church, Holloway

Francis was educated at Westminster, and went up to Christ Church in 1902. He went to the Malay Straits Settlements as a planter and must have returned to England soon after war broke out.

He was gazetted on 3 November 1915 to be a 2nd Lieutenant [on probation] in the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment. This rank was confirmed on 23 June 1916. Harrison was with 3rd Battalion/Depot for training whilst in UK – 3rd Battalion being the normal source of supply for replacements for the regular battalions. In November, he was promoted acting Captain in the Special Reserve.

Fighting in France, he was first wounded, and later died, in May 1918.

He is mentioned once in the Regimental History:
The Forest of Nieppe was to become very familiar to the 1st R.W.K. From the middle of April [1918] to the beginning of August the Fifth Division held this important sector. It was a time of constant activity. The Germans were constantly shelling the front line and subjecting the support and reserve positions to gas shelling, their aircraft concentrated their efforts on night bombing, and their machine-guns were extremely active. But they got as good as they gave. The British guns plied them assiduously with retaliatory fire and the battalion’s patrols obtained the upper hand in No Man’s Land and brought in much useful information. May saw the battalion visited by the influenza epidemic which was raging on the Western Front; an enormous number of men went sick and one officer, Lieut. R. H. Clarke, who had only just come out, succumbed to it. But against this casualties were low, only 5 men killed and 3 officers (2nd.Lieuts. Harrison, Ouzman, and Harding) and 30 men wounded for May, and 2 men killed and 19 wounded for the first ten days of June.

There follows an explanation of Battalion activities in the month he died from Invicta (1st Battalion history)
1) Between the 31st of July and the 17th of August [1916] 16 officers and 325 other ranks joined the Battalion. The officers were Lieut. Nisbet, and 2/Lieuts. Harrison, Coltman, Press, Hallowes, Henfrey, Hill, Meakins, Jagger, Daubeny, Longstaffe, Molony, Brett, Jenkinson, Anslow and Young. Most of them were naturally inexperienced. It would take some time before they could adequately replace the fine officers who had fallen.
2) May [1918]—During May the Battalion side-slipped to the north for a few tours in trenches at the extreme north of the sector held by the 5th Division. The change was a welcome one, as this portion of the line was open country and the continual gassing by the enemy was not so much felt here. Work in the line was of a heavy and exhausting nature, as continual little advancements of the general trench line took place, and each of these involved fresh dispositions and further digging and carrying parties. The rest periods were filled with work on the supporting lines in rear of the front-line system, and the Battalion was congratulated on several occasions by the Higher Authorities for the work done. Casualties were not heavy during the month, but nevertheless the Battalion suffered losses every time it went into the first-line system, and this steady drain began to have effect on the numbers available for fighting or work. The position had been absolutely stabilised, and, in spite of tentative offers to attack on the part of the enemy, which were easily disposed of, the Battalion had got back to a regular routine manner of life.
The next thing to be done was to make things as unpleasant as possible for the enemy, and to this end activity in patrolling was redoubled, and the dispositions of their troops accurately ascertained, and also their general routine. These points being dis­posed, active preparations for an attack were set in hand.
Casualties for the month were five killed; 2/Lieuts. Ouzman and Harding, and
Lieut. Harrison, and about thirty others wounded.

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