Rolls of Honour: Eccleshill, Park & St Luke’s; Ploegsteert Memorial
Children: Jack, Dora
Regiment: West Yorkshire
Harry Birch was born in Bradford on the 23rd February 1878 and was baptised at St Peter Parish Church on the 24th March 1878 the son of Thomas Nicholson Birch and Alice Maskell Steyning. By 1881 the family were living at 505 Bolton Road and Thomas and Alice had two sons, George born 1876 and Harry born 1878. Thomas was working as a stuff van driver and Alice as a dressmaker. In 1891 the family had moved to 1 Maltkin Fold, Bolton and three more sons had been born to them, Louie born 1881, Arthur born 1885 and Albert born 1887. The family were living at 85 Idle
Road in 1901. Harry now 23 years old was a stuff warehouseman. In 1907 Harry married Alice Baines who was born in Aston, Westmorland in 1850. They moved to 804 Harrogate Road, Greengates and two children were born to them, Jack born 1907 and Dora born 1909. On the 2nd of May 1917 Harry enlisted as Private 62039 in the 15th Battalion of West Yorkshire (Prince of Wales Own). He was still working as a warehouseman and his address is given as 8
Sherwood Place, the home of his parents.The 15th Battalion served on the Western Front as infantry and on the 9th April 1918 the German offensive in Lys began with the objective of capturing Ypres and forcing the British back to the coastal ports. The battle lasted until the 29th April when the Germans called off the offensive. Harry was killed in action on the 12th April 1918 when the German army renewed its attack towards the supply centre of Hazelbrouk.
He was reported missing from the 12th of April and on the 4th of May his parents advertised in the Daily Telegraph and the Bradford Weekly News newspapers asking for any information. Harry’s body was never recovered and he is remembered at the Ploegsteert Memorial which commemorates more than 11000 servicemen who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave.His father received Harry’s effects on the 14th October 1919 of £5. 11. 0d which included his war gratuity of £5. 0. 0d.Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks