Sergeant Henry John Harris

Service Army Service No. 8677
Rank Sergeant
Regiment:Devonshire Regiment, 1st Battalion
Date of Birth: 1892
Born Dawlish
Date of Death: 26/08/1918
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription HARRIS H. SERGT. DEVON REGT.

Service History

Without service records, as is common for most soldiers, it may be assumed that Henry John Harris joined the Devonshire Regiment prior to the war breaking out, possibly soon after his 18th birthday in 1910, for he is among those in the regular army battalion.

They were stationed in Jersey at the outbreak of the war and returned to the mainland before landing in France as part of the British Expeditionery Force. His Medal Roll index card shows that he arrived in France on 6 November 1914, thus qualifying for the eventual award of the 1914 Star. The card also shows him serving with the 2nd Battalion, to which he may have been transferred at some point. He was a Private at the outbreak of War, earning promotion to Serjeant by the time of his death.

The Devonshires fought a hard war (see their Military Story in ‘Documents’ here).

In the summer of 1918 they were engaged in a number of battles in Northen France, not far from the monument at Thiepval. It is not known when Henry John Harris was wounded, only that he died from his wounds and is buried in the war cemetery at Bagneux.

His grave carries the epitaph, “WHEN THY VOICE SHALL BID OUR CONFLICT CEASE    CALL US O LORD TO THINE ETERNAL PEACE”. It was requested by his father.

Association with Dawlish

John Harris (1833- ) was an agricultural labourer, married to Margaret Cummins (1834- ) and living in Dawlish Water Cottages when they had a son, John (1864- ). He was one of six children, all born in Dawlish.

John Harris junior married Loveday Stoneman (1859-1939) in 1885 . Loveday was born in North Tawton to George and Sophia Stoneman who had ten children. George also was an agricultural labourer and three of the children were employed as serge weavers and one as a wool spinner, natural occupations in a sheep farming community.

John and Loveday were living at Pill (Pitt?) Farm Cottage, in 1891 when he was working as an agricultural labourer. They had their first two children:

Edith, daughter (1886- )

Ellen Sophia,  “ (1890- )

By 1901 they had moved into Dawlish to 3 Queen Lane, Old Town Street, and with more children:

Henry John Harris, son (1892-1918)

Winifred, dau (1895- )

Charles,    son (1897- )

Alice Linda, dau (1900- )

They had one further child by 1911 when they were found at Shiverstone Cottages, Dawlish:

Frederick John, son (1907-)

But the census entry also records that one of their children had died by that time.

Henry John Harris was baptised at St Gregory’s on 20 November 1892.

Devon Roll of Honour Harris, Henry, Sergt, Devon Regt
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Father, John Harris
Last Known Address: Shiverstone Cottages, Dawlish Water

Baptism - Find my Past.

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census data

UK, Soldiers died in the Great War

British Army Medal Rolls index cards

UK, Soldiers Register of Soldiers’ Effects

Ancestry family trees ( 4 no. incomplete)