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Pte. Arthur George Harrison KIA Ploegsteer


Joy Dean
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My great-uncle Pte. Arthur George Harrison, No. 62732, "B" Company, 5th Machine Gun Battalion, was killed in action 20 May 1918, in Ploegsteer, Belgium, at 30 years of age. His name is listed on 11,460 missing on The Memorial to the Missing of Ploegsteert.

I have a copy of a letter sent to his mother from Captain R. Hulbert Dadd, "B" Company, 5th Machine Gun Battalion, dated 28 May 1918 " ... I regret very much to inform you that your son Pte. A.G. Harrison, No. 62732 of this Company was killed in action ...".

Does anyone know, please, what the battle would have been?

Joy

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Welcome to the Forum

If you click on the link to the Long Long Trail (top left of this page) you will find some general information about the Machine Gun Company. As far as I can see, it would not have been engaged in a major battle on 20 May.

There may, of course, have been some local action that you could only establish by looking at the War Diary held at the National Archives. It is, however, most likely that your relative was killed by enemy shellfire. I am sorry to be so blunt but it is a likely reason when, in a quiet sector, there is no known grave. There was often nothing left to bury.

John

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Thank you, John, for taking the trouble to reply. Yes, I looked in the link but could not see a major battle described at that time.

The letter from Captain R. Hulbert Dadd, "B" Company, 5th Machine Gun Battalion, dated 28 May 1918 says

" ... I regret very much to inform you that your son Pte. A.G. Harrison, No. 62732 of this Company was killed in action on the night of the 21st instant. Death was instantaneous and without any suffering.

The Company was taking part in an attack and your son's gun team was one of these which advanced against the enemy. The attack was successful, and all guns reached and established new positions. Later in the night the enemy shelled our lines and one shell fell on your son's gun killing him and wounding a comrade.

It was impossible to get his remains away and he lies in a soldier's grave where he fell.

I and the C.O. and all the Company deeply sympathise with you in your loss.

Your son always did his duty and now has given his life for his country. We all honour him, and I trust you will feel some consolation in remembering this.

His effects will reach you via the Base in due course.

In true sympathy....".

I just thought that as the letter said "The Company was taking part in an attack", then maybe there was a particularly named battle on that day, but it seems not to be the case.

Thank you.

RIP, great-uncle Dick.

from your great-niece Joy

PS I don't know why Arthur should have been known as Dick!

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"Take The Time To Remember"

Name: HARRISON, ARTHUR GEORGE

Initials: A G

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment: Machine Gun Corps (Inf)

Unit Text: 5th Bn.

Age: 30

Date of Death: 20/05/1918

Service No: 62732

Additional information: Son of Joseph Harrison, of 76, Reidworth St., Kennington Rd., London, and the late Susan Harrison.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 11

Cemetery: PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL

gordon

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