I did some digging on a number of sites but it appears that there isn’t a John Harris from the 2nd Battalion of the KSLI listed on ANY of the war memorials in Herefordshire. This was after cross-referencing two lists.
I already knew he wasn’t listed on the Yeovil Roll because he was not living in Yeovil at the time. Nor is it a surprise that he’s not on any of the Shropshire rolls because he wasn’t living there. But the best information I have says he lived in Herefordshire, specifically Hereford. Why is there no mention of him on any of the monuments?
Was he not living in Herefordshire? And if so, where was he living? I know he enlisted at Nuneaton but Nuneaton was a major army town in those days. At any rate, the Roll of Honour for Nuneaton hasn’t been published online yet as it was only recently compiled.
BUT… along with raising more questions, I may have found out which company of the KSLI Jack was in! According to this page, only one company of the 2nd Battalion had any casualties in July 1915: “B” company.
Also, I reexamined the pdf I was sent of his pre-WWI military service and discovered it was full of information I hadn’t noticed before! I don’t know how I overlooked the following pages all this time but I can tell you this does answer a few questions about him!
So here’s what I know about Jack’s service so far:
*He had been previously enlisted (No. 6834) until February 1914 as a reservist with the KSLI (2nd. Bn). Before that he was active from 1902 to 1910 and served in Secunderabad. His address at the time the war broke out was probably at #1 Coronation Terrace (or lane, the handwriting is unclear). This house may not exist or the street may be renamed.
*He had no education certificates to speak of. His occupation is listed as “laborer.” Sadly I cannot confirm my memory of working in the hop fields on a seasonal basis but this remains plausible.
*He had no physical resemblance to me. His physical appearance upon transfer to the reserve is described thus:
Height (without boots): 5′ 6″
Exact size of helmet: 21 1/2 (note: I can only guess this refers to a pith helmet as this record predates the Brodie by some time).
Exact size of boots: 7.4 (I do not understand this figure and need to find more information on how boots were sized in the British Army prior to WWI).
Descriptive marks: Nil
A description upon enlistment is less legible but he was bigger overall and his hair is listed as dark brown. This page also lists his religious affiliation as Church of England.
*He received several disciplinary actions and remained a private for his whole career. I recently noticed that his behavior is noted, and in most instances it involves drunkenness but there are also two unexcused absences, creating a disturbance, and wilfully damaging a captain’s(?) property. Sadly this a little too much like me in some respects as a lot of this is behaviors I’ve only conquered in this life.
*During his tour in India he suffered an attack of phebitis, heatstroke, fever, and some other conditions which are sadly illegible to me.
*He reenlisted in the 2nd Bn. (No. 7324) some time in September 1914. His records from 1914-1915 were probably lost in the Blitz and most of the data on him comes from CWGC sources.
*He served in “B” company.
*He may have served with his brother Albert, who may have been wounded and likely survived him by almost 60 years.
*He was present at the Second Battle of Ypres.
*He survived the battle but was killed in action later that summer in a quiet sector, L’Epinette, a small hamlet near Houplines and Armentieres. He was a front line casualty, most likely killed in the trenches along the Ruelle de la Blanche between Chemin de L’Epinette and Chemin du Pilori.
*He is buried in Ferme Buterne Military Cemetery, Row C, Plot 1. His epitaph, “He Did His Duty,” was most likely written by his brother, Albert, as his name is on the cemetery records.
I need to do some more research now to see if him being in “B” company confirms or disproves some of my meories. This is a small detail but an important one if I can find the movements of the individual companies during specific battles.