28th December 1918
Enlisted - October 16, 1939
Harry’s time in service from October 1939 to November 1945, took him from Pill Boxes on the North Norfolk Coast into France and guarding the coast of Cornwall and ultimately to the Hellfire Pass in the depths of the Burmese jungle.
Harry was held prisoner from the fall of Singapore in February 1942 until Victory was declared in Japan in September 1945. He was put to work at Keppel Docks whilst held at the Changi PoW Camp then onto the notorious Thai–Burma railway, also known as the Death Railway, constructing the real bridge over the River Kwai and digging the “Hellfire Pass” before ending up in Japan at the copper mines of Iruka.
Harry returned with “The Iruka Boys” a group of 26 fellow FEPOW’s to the Far East in October 1992 to attend a memorial service at the Iruka (now called Itaya) memorial. The trip was arranged by Keiko Holmes OBE who has gone on to organise more trips and eventually founded the charity “Agape”, in 1996.
His daughters Sandra, who now lives near Leyburn, N Yorks and Carole, now living near Stamford, Lincs, said: “Dad never really went into great detail about the War, he’d tell small stories, then a couple years of ago we asked him to write* down as much as he wanted to about his time in the War so we could pass it on to his Grand-children and Great-grandchildren so they would know how courageous and brave he had been.”
Paying further tribute to their father, they added: “He was one of the most gentle and respected men he would have done anything for us.”
“He loved his garden and greenhouse and always had pocket money and a joke for the children.”
Harry was born in Leeds on 28th December 1918 and lived in Garforth before the War.
He later settling with Irene to raise a family in Swarcliffe. Irene passed away five years ago. They had four grand-children and five great-grandchildren.
The former Northumberland Fusilier Sargeant worked on Leeds Kirkgate Market managing the Thrift Grocery Store.
For the last three years Harry was a resident at Moor Allerton Care Home, before being admitted to St James’s Hospital three weeks ago.
Friday, 7th November 2014
One month before his 96th Birthday.
Harry died after contracting Aspiration pneumonia