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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Harry Patch date wounded


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I have to say that Spartacus International is pretty unreliable from what I can see. That is not a picture of Harry Patch, for starters! I would also be very circumspect about taking information from other people quoted there who had little or no contact with Harry and yet purported to have detailed material.

I'm satisfied that Harry was wounded on or about the day he mentioned (22nd September), but I wasn't willing to push things with him. It was an intensely private matter for him in many ways. What I would say, and someone has alluded to my tweets on the subject, is that Harry's No1 does appear to be Ernest Hayes who lived in Henley on Thames. According to Harry, Hayes was not wounded on 22nd and the list show above seems to endorse that fact. What happened to his mates is open to speculation. Harry was wounded and unconscious for a while and therefore he was probably not aware of what happened to the other men, at least not then and there.

All best


NB Harry always referred to Hayes as 'Bob'. Census records suggests that Ernest was underage. His elder brother and Uncle, with whom he lived, were called Bob, and I wonder if Ernest took the name to enlist and stuck with it. Just a thought. We are now seeing if we can contact Ernest's family. I will keep you posted if we find them.

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Thank you for posting Richard. As said, it was the date I was interested in, and the 22nd looks good. " but I wasn't willing to push things with him. It was an intensely private matter for him in many ways. " Having spoken with WW2 veterans , I can understand.


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The subject has been discussed before.

My recollection is that Harry Patch mentioned a date when the mates were killed and, also, gave some information about the blokes - the name of one, where another came from, etc. As I recall, we were not able to pinpoint either the date or, indeed, any men fitting Harry's description who were killed around that time. As someone has said, he was remembering as best he could very many years after the event but it does seem a shame that an old man's recollections are treated as absolute fact, rather than as his personal remembrance.

I can assure you that no disrespect to either Harry, his mates or his memory is in any way intended, and never has been on my part. Rather, if he had genuinely forgotten the names of those men whom he was serving alongside, my thoughts were entirely based around the idea of perhaps aiding his memory. I distinctly remember him saying (somewhere on film) something along the lines of:

"I can't remember who they were now, I wish I could"

Who knows, it may have brought him some peace of mind. That is however why my initial thoughts lay around contacting Mr Van Emden with what I had found, as he was in a much better position to make a decision on if it would have been of any benefit to Harry or not.

Anyway, it was all academic at the time, as I had no way of contacting him. I am however personally convinced that, for Harry to have remembered that date and time with such seemingly perfect clarity and conviction, there is absolutely no need to doubt him on it.



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  • 1 year later...

Hi Guys,


Been looking through some older posts and came across this one. Any updates Richard on Earnest or Harry's war service in general to what has been stated on this thread?


I was extremely lucky to receive several correspdance from Harry which i hold very dear, cant believe he has been gone seven years now, where has the time gone! he really was a true inspiration to us all. Re-reading again The Last Fighting Tommy, such an enriching and life affirming read.


Kind Regards,


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