Lieutenant Joel Harrison SEAVERNS
1st City of London (Royal Fusiliers)
Date of birth: 25 January 1893
Date of death: 10 May 1915
Died of wounds received in action aged 22
Buried at Merville Communal Cemetery Plot I. L. 4.
Joel Harrison was born at Upper Norwood, the only child of Joel Herbert Seaverns, formerly Liberal M.P. for the Brixton Division of Lambeth, of 25 Grosvenor Road, S.W., and of Helen Gertrude Brown. Both his parents were Americans; his mother came from Portland, Maine, his father was the London Partner of Henry W. Peabody & Co. of Boston.
Throughout his childhood, Joel was taken back and forth to the States, the first time when he was about eighteen months old.
He was educated at Harrow and came up to Christ Church in 1911 to read Modern History. He took an Honours degree in June 1914.
He had been a member of the OTC whilst at Harrow and in 1911 he received a commission as Second Lieutenant in the 1st City of London (Royal Fusiliers) and was promoted Lieutenant in May 1913. He joined his Regiment on the outbreak of the War and served with it in Malta from September 1914, to February 1915, and afterwards in France.
In the action of 9 May 1915, opposite Aubers Ridge, he commanded the forward Platoon of the right wing of his Battalion, and fell mortally wounded, dying the next day. Lieutenant R. G. B. Bowen, his old friend at Harrow and Oxford, and an Officer in his Battalion, was killed in the same engagement.
Lieut-Colonel E. G. Mercer, C.M.G., 1st City of London (Royal Fusiliers), wrote:
" He was a keen Officer and loved by the men of his Platoon, and their advance into a storm of shot and shell, after he had fallen at their head, was the finest testimony that could be paid him."
An Officer who formerly served under him in the ranks wrote: "I shall always remember him as a gentleman and a thorough soldier and Officer. On many occasions he went entirely out of his way to see to the comfort of his men — always so full of spirit, and so keen for the welfare of those under him: he was justly admired by all ranks, and the men would go anywhere for him."
Captain Glover, his Company Commander, afterwards killed in action in France, wrote: "Joel Seaverns was magnificent that day."
A charity, The Joel Seaverns Trust was set up by his father’s Will proved on 1 January 1924. Its Objects are “The education, care, maintenance, support or benefit of such young people of any class of society whether infants or adults and being either poor orphans or the children of poor people as the Trustees may from time to time select.”
Probate was granted to his father on 24 August 1915. He left £306-2s-8d.