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Bertrand Harrison

Date of birth: 1883
Date of death: 15.9.1916
Area: Outwood
Regiment: King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Husband of Florrie Harrison and father of Doris Alberta of Albert Terrace, Leeds Road, Outwood
Rank: Sergeant
Service number: 3/1939

War Service

Bertrand Harrison was, for a number of years, a member of the local Territorials, and retired with the rank of sergeant. Soon afterwards he joined the National Reserve, and was called to the colours at the outbreak of war. He joined the 6th (Service) Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry where he soon rose to the rank of sergeant. The 6th KOYLI was attached to 43rd Brigade, 14th (Light) Division. Initially without equipment or arms, they completed their training at various places in the South of England, before going to France, on 21st May 1915.
In June 1915, the 6th KOYLI went into the line at the Menin Road, near Hooge. During the weeks that followed the battalion suffered casualties from enemy shelling, particularly around Zouave Wood and Sanctuary Wood. The 6th KOYLI remained within the Ypres Salient, with the 14th Division, throughout the winter months. Towards the end of June 1916, the battalion went into the trenches at Agny, south of Arras. On the 23rd July, these trenches were heavily shelled and the following infantry attack advanced as far as the support line, before being repulsed. When relieved on the 28th July, the 6th KOYLI had spent forty days in the trenches.
On the 15th August, the 6th KOYLI took over trenches in Delville Wood near the village of Longueval, during the second phase of the Battle of the Somme. On the 24th August, the 6th KOYLI was initially in support of a divisional attack to clear the wood, but later went into the front line trenches. They remained in the line until relieved, after midnight on the 28th August.
On the 15th September 1916, the 6th KOYLI was detached from its own brigade, “W” and “X” Coys. to co-operate with the 41st Brigade and “Y” and “Z” Coys. with the 42nd Brigade. On the 16th September “Y” and “Z” Coys. were in support of an attack to take Gueudcourt. The first part of the operation, to take Gird Trench was successful and the counter-attack repulsed. At 06.55 hrs. the attack was renewed, as the “Y” and “Z” Coys crossed open ground, they were caught by machine-gun fire. On arrival at the trench line, they found that the Somerset LI had not advanced. Consequently the two KOYLI Companies were forced to lie in the open ground, under heavy shell fire, until ordered to withdraw. During this operation the two companies incurred 105 casualties.
Meanwhile, “W” and “X” Coys. attacked at 05.20 hrs and made good progress until 100 yards from Pint Trench, when they were caught by machine-gun fire. The advance continued after the machine-guns were silenced, and Pint Trench taken after fierce close-quarter fighting. The “W“and “X“ Companies then advanced on to Switch Trench, which was swiftly taken and consolidated. The two KOYLI Companies held their positions until 15.00 hrs. when they were relieved having incurred 190 casualties.
Sergeant Bertrand Harrison was killed in action, on 15th September 1916 and was initially buried near to where he fell (Map Ref.57c.T.2c.5.3.). After the Armistice his grave was brought into the Guards Cemetery, at Lesboeufs, a village 16 km. north-east of Albert. There are now 3136 casualties of the First World War buried, or commemorated in the cemetery.

Family Life

Bertrand Harrison was born in 1883, the son of Edward and Eliza Harrison of Hatfield Street, Wakefield, his father being employed as an attendant at the Wakefield Asylum. He was baptised at St Johns Church, Wakefield, where he later became a respected member of the church choir. In 1901, the family residence was at Saville Street, Wakefield, but later moved to Westover Terrace, Leeds Road, Outwood. When Bertrand left school he initially obtained work as a Printer/Compositor. In 1907 Bertrand Harrison married Florrie Crosthwaite and later that year their daughter, Doris Alberta was born. At this time Bertrand was employed as an attendant at the West Riding Lunatic Asylum and living at 35 Albion Street, Wakefield. He and his family later moved to Albert Terrace, Leeds Road, Outwood.

Entrance to the Guards' Cemetery Lesboeufs Guards' Cemetery Lesboeufs

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