Every Name A Story Content

Harris, A.E., Pte., 1918

Ploegsteert Memorial

Ploegsteert Memorial: Pauline Priano

On Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium, is the name of 42916 Private Albert Edward Harris serving with the 2nd/6th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment who died 15/04/1918.

Pauline Priano has submitted the following:-

Albert Edward Harris born in 1899 in the district of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, was the only known son of Albert Harris. The CWGC make mention that his mother was Elizabeth, this I am sure was his father’s second wife, the mother of Albert Edward’s 2 half siblings, Douglas Edgar and Gordon A. Harris born 1916 and 1918 respectively, at Gateshead, County Durham, mother’s surname Brown. His military record lists Albert Edward’s birth mother as deceased.

At the age of 15 years 9 months Albert Edward Harris was living at 4, St. Michael’s Avenue, Westoe, South Shields, employed as a clerk. He enlisted at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, February 4th 1915 and posted to the newly formed 16th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, a Pals Battalion, as Private 1477. Private Harris in November 1915 was at Catterick with the 31st Reserve Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, placed in confinement he was tried by the D.C.M., November 20th 1915 on several serious charges. 1) stealing goods the property of a comrade, 2) making away with by selling stolen property, 3) when in confinement escaping, 4) wilfully destroying property. Found guilty December 22nd 1915 he was sentenced to 84 days' detention, February 25th 1916 Private Harris was granted 13 days remission of sentence. Having been transferred to the 86th Territorial Reserve Battalion, September 1st 1916 he was moved again to the 13th T. R. Battalion on the 29th.

During his time in the Army he was sent on a 1st Lewis Gun Course at Humber Garrison, Hull, East Riding Yorkshire, a part-time unit of the Royal Artillery and to Machine Gun School at Cleethorps. He passed both classes of instruction. In 1917 Albert Edward was transferred to the 15th (Reserve) Battalion N. F.

Why Private Harris was sent to the front is questionable as he was only 18 years 9 months of age, he had not yet turned 19 which was a legal requirement for serving overseas. He departed April 2nd 1918 with the British Expeditionary Force landing in France, posted to the 2/6th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment, April 5th 1918, as Private 42916, he joined his regiment on the Ypres salient in Belgium.

Private 42916 Albert Edward Harris was reported as missing April 15th 1918 and his father as next of kin was informed. After extensive investigations as to his whereabouts he was struck off and is deemed to have died, “on or since,” April 15th 1918.

Private Harris has no known grave, his sacrifice is recorded as one of the 11,349 names of servicemen from the United Kingdom and South Africa inscribed on the Ploegsteert Memorial, 12.5 kilometres south of Ypres in Belgium, commemorating those who died in the sector, the majority of whom were killed during day to day trench warfare and not in any major attacks. He was 18 years of age and single.

His father Albert Harris received all monies due to his son by the Army and his awards of the British War Medal and Victory Medal sent to him at his home address of 51, Percy Gardens Tynemouth, Northumberland.

In God’s safe keeping. Rest In Peace.

Albert Edward Harris is remembered at Tynemouth on T36.01

The CWGC entry for Private Harris

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk