Rolls of Honour: Eccleshill, Park and St Luke’s; Arras Memorial
Regiment: Prince of Wales Own
Harry Firth was born in 1892 in Bradford the son of William and Emma, nee Vollum.In 1891 the family were living at 1 Winter Row and William was working as a stone dresser at a quarry. They had six children Mary Elizabeth born 1875, Annie in 1879, Fred in 1881, Kate in 1883, Herbert in 1884 and Alice in 1889. The family had moved to 7 Sowdens Buildings by 1901 and Emma was widowed, William having died in 1900 at the age of 58.Three more children had been born, Harry in 1892, Sam in 1894 and Willie in 1895. By 1911 the family had moved to 177 Dudley Hill Road and all the siblings were employed in the
textile industry, Harry at 19 years of age working as a twister. He married at St Clement Church on the 14th July 1916 Annie Rushworth, 24 years of age a worsted warper.By now, 24 year old Harry was a worsted weaver. The couple started their married life at 161a Dudley Hill Road. When Harry enlisted on the 21st March 1916 he was employed by Jeremiah Ambler and Sons Ltd of Valley Road. Harry enlisted in the 2/6th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales Own) as Private 242051. His Regiment landed in France in January 1917 and was involved in
the spring offensive of 1917 known as the Battle of Arras, a principle offensive undertaken by the British at the Scarpe Valley near Arras.Two failed attacks had already taken place, the first on the 9th to the 14th of April, the second on the 23rd to the 24th April and the third took place on the 3rd of May. However the British army was unable to make any significant advances and the attack was called off the following day after incurring heavy casualties. Harry was one of four casualties who died on this day and whose names are recorded on the War Memorial in St Luke’s Church, Eccleshill.
He was originally reported wounded and missing but then reported killed. He was 25 years of age.Harry is remembered at the Arras Memorial in the Western part of the town of Arras where the names of 35,492 men who fell in the Battles of Arras from the spring of 1916 until the 7th of August 1918 are recorded and who have no known graves.His effects were left to his widow and sole legatee Annie who received £2.17.7d on the 10th October 1917 and the War Gratuity of £4.0.0d on the 29th October 1919.Researched and written by Jean Britteon, to whom many thanks