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680662 GNR. H. WHALLEY.  R.F.A.


Harry Whalley was born in October 1897 in Darwen (SDGW erroneously states he was born in Preston).  His father was William Whalley (b. 1873 in Darwen), a fruiterer and potato merchant.  His mother was Elizabeth Bowe (b. 1873 in Anderton).  William and Elizabeth were married in 1896 and they had three children: Harry was their first born, followed by Ellen (b. 1899) and Elizabeth (b. 1900).  William’s parents and siblings were all engaged in fruit and veg retailing in Darwen but some time between 1901 and 1911 William and Elizabeth moved to Preston and set up business there.  They lived at 9 Cliff Street, Avenham.  In the 1911 Census, Harry is shown as living with or visiting his uncle, Benjamin Bowe, in Darwen.  He had not yet started work but I guess he would have joined the family business. 


Harry was among a substantial number of men from Preston who joined the Royal Field Artillery in May 1915 and these Preston men were posted to “A” Battery of 286 Brigade.  Harry was assigned service number 680662.  286 Bde went to France in February 1917 and spent the summer and early autumn in the defence of Armentières.  In October, they were moved north to join the Third Battle of Ypres.


At the beginning of October they were in training at Delettes, in France, and on 5 October they marched from there to Boëseghem and the following day on to Godewaersevelde on the Belgian border, then to Steentje, where “A” Battery was briefly engaged in supporting an infantry attack.  On 9 October they moved to Langemark, north-east of Ypres, which was where the real fighting, for Passchendaele, was taking place.


Harry Whalley was killed in action on 8 October 1917.  He had just turned 20.


Rank:  Gunner

Service No:  680662

Date of Death:  08/10/1917

Age:  20

Regiment/Service:  Royal Field Artillery, “A” Bty, 286th Bde.

Grave Reference:   III. A. 35.


Additional Information:  Son of William and Elizabeth Whalley, of 9 Cliff Street, Preston.

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