Private Percival Samuel Harris

Service Army Service No. 30485
Rank Private
Regiment:East Lancashire Regiment, 11th Battalion
Date of Birth: 1893
Born Exeter
Date of Death: 28/09/1918
Memorial: Not Listed Memorial Inscription

Service History

Percival Samuel Harris was a Private, service no 30485. He was first attached to the Army Service Corps as a driver, no. T4/210594, then given the ASC no.773 before finally transfering to the 11th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, “y”company (also known as the “Accrington Pals” Battalion). The Pals Battalion suffered greatly in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 and was eventually rebuilt to full strength.

The 11th Battalion was engaged in the Battle of Ypres (The final advance on Flanders) from 28 September to 2 October, 1918 and on the 28th September they attacked Ploegstreet Wood in Belgium where P S Harris was killed.


Association with Dawlish

P S Harris was the grandson of Samuel and Elizabeth Harris. Samuel was born in Crediton ca 1844 and Elizabeth came from Tedburn St Mary and was two years younger. He worked on the land and they settled in Tedburn and were at Little Uppacott in 1871 with three children, but the census form shows that two were born blind. The other child was named Samuel (1866- ) and he appears to have been a healthy child. In 1881 the family had moved only a short distance to 2 North Park Cottage. The youngest blind child, John (1869- ), is no longer shown in their household but James (1864- ) also blind, is still living but without an occupation at 17 years of age. They went on to have eight children of which two died before 1911. Blind John survived and became an organist at the parish church when the parents returned to live at Tedburn St Mary and Samuel was a council road worker.

Samuel the son married Rose Chenneour in Exeter in 1886 when he was 19 and they were shown living at Commercial Road in the Parish of St Mary Steps, Exeter in 1891, with three children. Samuel had employment as a Carter and Rose as a Shopkeeper in 1891, and in 1901 and 1911 Samuel is described as a Carman, possibly working with motors which were appearing on the streets. Their five children were at home at 18 James Street, Exeter:

Alice, dau, 24 Tailoress, at home born Exeter, St John

Albert, son, 22 Glass worker “

Frederick, marr son, 20 Cellarman Exeter, Mary Steps

Percival Samuel, 17 Apprentice, woolen trade “

Lily, dau, 13 School “

Thus far there is no hint of a connection to Dawlish, but in 1917 Percival married Emily Jane Short in Exeter. Army records show that Emily Jane Harris (1894-1975) was notified of her husband’s death when she was living at “The Mount”, Dawlish, and later at Cyprus House, Dawlish. One may imagine that Emily was not told about the preparation for a War Memorial in Dawlish, or that, because her husband had never lived in Dawlish, he may not have been eligible for a listing here. But he is not included on any of the Exeter war memorials, and it is therefore fitting that he is remembered where his wife would have been most at a loss after his death.

Devon Roll of Honour
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Wife, Emily Jane Harris
Last Known Address: "The Mount," Dawlish, Devon.

East Lancashire Regiment - Accrington Pals


Free Birth Marriage and Death refs

The Accrington Pals story

Refs from subscription sources:

Forces War Records

Census data

Ancestry family trees (Sanders family tree and James family tree)

UK, Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects

Army Medal Record Card