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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

A/Cpl Albert J Harris


eric e

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Hi pals,

This is a picture of my Great Uncle Albert Harris, taken while serving in France. From his MIC I have learnt that he was entitled to the Victory and British medals along with the 15 Star. His MIC records his date of entry into France as 7th October 1915, and he died of wounds on 12th September 1917.

When looking on the CWGC site I found that Albert was one of 409 A Harris' killed in the Great War, 409 a number I find absolutely staggering. He is buried in Ypres Reservoir Cemetry.

From the CWGC it says that Corporal AJ Harris was a member of the 354th Electrical and Mechanical Company of the Royal Engineers. Could someone explain please what being a member of the 354th Electrical and Mechanical would entail.

Two of my Aunties visited his grave over 20 years ago, taking with them flowers from the area in which he grew up. When they come back from holidaying in South Africa I'd like to be able to give them some more information on their mothers favourite brother.

post-17375-1177107979.jpg

Many thanks,

Eric.

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A photo ot Alberts grave sent to his family I believe at the request of his mother.

post-17375-1177108748.jpg

Eric.

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J is for James

born Neen Savage, Salop

enlisted Shrewsbury

lived Cleobury Martimer

local papers are an excellent source for extra info

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The National Archive holds copies of War Diaries which will show the location of the unit at the time. Since most of these companies were not all that big in size, he may get a mention in the diary, depending on the diligence of the Adjutant. Having said that mention of Other Ranks was rare.

WO 95/337 354 Electrical and Mechanical Company Royal Engineers 1917 Jan. - 1918 Dec.

You will need to visit the NA to view the diary. If you just want a few days, then an online service "Digital Express" will send you an e-mail of the required pages (up to 5 pages, I think) for £8.00, or the "Printed or PDF" service which is cheaper but you need to ask for an estimate. A whole war diary is hideously expensive and you are best to goto the NA and photograph it with a digital camera.

If the following link does not point you in the right place then go to the Catalogue and enter "354 AND Mechanical" into the Word or phrase box and WO95 into the Series box.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalog...;accessmethod=0

Steve.

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Hi Tony

I've been around for a while now and still have so much to learn about this fantastic site. The people here are so friendly and helpful. Thanks for the link to the Royal Engineers. I was careful to read the info regarding Alberts MIC before posting, but didn't think to look for information on his company. So now I know that he was involved with tunnelling.

Coldstreamer,

Ludlow library have copies of the Advertiser on microfilm for part of the Great War so looks like I need to make another trip to see if they have anything. Last time I was there looking up info on my GGrandfather I ended up with motion sickness. :( I must be the only person who's been seasick watching a tv programme of a yacht crossing the English Channel. :lol:

Steve

Many thanks for all the technical info. Now I know what to ask for concerning Albert.

I do intend going to the NA sometime but will need to get more genned up before I do.

Cheers,

Eric.

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those fiche machines are not good - much prefer the origianal papers - plus they are easier to photograph

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Coldstreamer,

Point taken. But it will have to be sick bag to the library, and later camera to the NA.

Cheers,

Eric.

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  • 5 years later...

Hi Eric

I do believe that Albert James Harris is also my Great Great Uncle. My granddad ‘Bert’ was born 6 months after Albert’s death and was named Albert James Harris by his Father Thomas Harris (who my son is named after, and its also my Fathers middle name). Bert was born at Honey Suckle Cottage where he lived until he came back from Burma where he fought in WW2 when he moved to Bromsgrove.

I have attached a couple of photos that we have of Albert including one of his headstone that my Aunt took when she visited a couple of years ago.

I would love for you to get in contact as I want to learn more of Albert and at present we know very little.

Many thanks

Stuart

20121215132251.th.jpg

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dsc0005iw.th.jpg

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eric

354 E & M Coy was formed in Dec 1916. Their principal task was the installation, operation, and maintenance of of all RE machinery in Army areas. This included:

Laundry plant

Workshop machinery

Forestry machinery

ASC Plant

X Ray generating sets

Battery charging sets for sound ranging equipment

Cinema plant

Installation of lighting in dugouts

Pumping plant for water supply

Electric light plants for CCS and hospitals.

The list is not exhaustive.

Movements of 354 E & M Coy:

5th Army December 1916 to 14.4. 17

4th Army to 22.12.17

2nd Army 1.5.18 to 11.11.18

TR

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Terry,

Many thanks for taking the time to respond with details of Alberts Company. Since I first posted about Albert I have been given copies of letters sent to his father, one from his commanding officer and one from his CSM. I will post both and hope they may be of interest to you. I will also attach a copy of a letter sent by Albert to his sister Maggie on Jan 1st 1917.

Stuart,

My Aunty Doris now lives at Honeysuckle, she has done since she got married nearly 60 years ago. I will email you with my details, I have quite a few photographs of the Harris family including Herbert when he lived in Australia.

Kind regards,

Eric.

post-17375-0-38915600-1355608437_thumb.jpost-17375-0-67118700-1355608468_thumb.j

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Terry/Stuart,

The other letters.

Eric.

post-17375-0-65269800-1355608983_thumb.jpost-17375-0-34861100-1355609008_thumb.j

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I am struck by how literate the letters are - especially that of the CSM. Yet, illiteracy was still frequent during the GW, though much down on a generation earlier. When I was at college, just a wee few years ago, we engineurs (well, at least some of us) had a perverse pride in being only semi-literate. I would not have been able to write like that when in college.

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Thank you Eric for posting the letters and i look forward to your email, I have met Doris when we went to the farm to scatter my grandad Berts ashes, lovely lady.

I have downloaded the letters and have sent them emailed them on to other family members

Stuart

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Hi Wexflyer,

I too was struck by the literacy and neatness of the CSM's letter. Albert certainly writes well considering he would have left school at 14. On the 1911 census his occupation was a labourer bricklayer. A lot of letters and postcards that were sent by my relatives, born in the 1890's had a neat if flowery hand.

I think Albert may have been quite practical [a good fit for the REME], the William in his letter was his brother-in-law and the machines he wrote about were threshing machines. At least one of which was requisitioned during the war, Albert working on them before joining up.

Wexflyer as you can see from my post I know a liitle about semi-literate, and I too am an engineer. :whistle:

Eric.

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