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Covering the villages of Wilsden and Harecroft

The terrible toll of the German attack of March 21st was beginning to be seen in the local newspapers. News of the missing, wounded and of those taken prisoner was filtering back. The agonising wait for news of the missing continued for many families. After one year, the missing soldier would be declared dead.

  • Keighley News, 4th May 1918

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Keighley News Archive (accessed via Bradford Libraries website)

Herbert P. Harrison

Gdsn. Harrison, Herbert Preston     29380   3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards


Born in Wilsden in 1899, Herbert was the only son of Sarah and Preston Harrison, oil dealer & general dealer (mainly bowls and pottery) of Spring Hill, Main Street, Wilsden. He had an older sister, Maud and two younger ones; Clara & Minnie.

Herbert enlisted at Keighley, after being given a white feather on a trip into Bradford. He was underage and not eligible to join up, but he was a tall boy and lied about his age to get into the prestigious Grenadier Guards. There was still a minimum height requirement for the Guards and their superb drill and immaculate uniforms, even in the squalour of the trenches, was a source of wonder to the ordinary Tommies who adjoined them in the line.

Herbert’s father, Preston, died in 1917 whilst Herbert was on active service in France. The family lost both its men in a short space of time when Herbert was killed in action on 4 May 1918  aged 19.

He was buried originally at Willow Road Cemetery, Boire Ste. Rictude, but after the Armistice the 25 burials from Willow Road, largely of the Guards Division who were buried in 1918, were re-interred in Douchy-les-Ayette British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Herbert’s Grave No. is   II. F. 15

Sarah had to support herself and her three daughters on her own. She bought Jos Craven’s drapery business at Bradford House (now the Post Office) which she and the girls ran between them.