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Joseph Harrison

Date of birth: 1893
Date of death: 4.9.1916
Area: Brotherton
Regiment: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Family information: Son of George and Isabella Harrison of 7, Ramsden’s Yard, Pontefract
Rank: Corporal
Service number: 1758

War Service

Joseph Harrison enlisted in the 1st/5th battalion of the K.O.Y.L.I. This was formed in August 1914 in Doncaster as part of 3rd West Riding Brigade, West Riding Division. It moved in November 1914 to Gainsborough and then moved on to York in February 1915. Then on 12th April 1915 they landed at Boulogne. On 15th May 1915 the formation became 148th Brigade, 49th (West Riding) Division..
By 19th April the Division had concentrated in the area of Estaires - Merville - Neuf Berquin. The Division then remained in France and Flanders and took part in the following engagements:
The Battle of Aubers Ridge (9 May)
The defence against the first Phosgene attack (19 December) (For fuller details see account on Gregory Hutchinson)
The Battle of Albert* (1st - 13th July 1916)
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge* (14th - 17th July 1916)
The Battle of Pozieres Ridge* (23rd July - 3rd September 1916)
The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916.
Joseph Harrison was killed on 4th September 1916. It is most likely that he was killed during the action at Pozieres Ridge which is situated in France between Albert and Bapaume. The Lonsdale cemetery is close by to the north east of Albert.
A note on his Medal Index card shows that his widow applied for his medals.

Family Life

The Harrison family’s Brotherton roots can be traced back as far as 1709. And there were a number of probably inter-related families of that name right through to the late 1800’s. From that time they seem to have dispersed - some to other villages in the locality but others further away e.g. Hull, Wellwyn, Lincolnshire. A William Harrison from Brotherton was recorded in 1891 as being a ‘Domestic Butler’ in Glasgow Barony and in 1901 as a ‘Valet’ - still in Glasgow.
However, the earliest definite ancestor of Joseph was George Harrison (1st) who married a Sarah. They had at least five children - Thomas (1812), William (1815) George 2nd (1818), Sarah (1823) and Rebecca (1829).
George 2nd went on to marry Mary and had the following children - Sarah (1852), Jane (1854), Alice (1857) and George 3rd (1860).
In 1871 they had added Mary Ann to the family (aged 8) and were living in the High Street. George was employed as a ‘farm labourer’.
In 1881 only George 3rd and Mary Ann were living with their parents and the two men were described as ‘Labourers’.
George 2nd aged 73 and Mary were still around in 1891 whilst George 3rd had married Isabella Wood from Morley in 1888 and had a girl called Sarah Elizabeth (1890). They lived in ‘The Gardens’ which appears to be somewhere off the North Road - possibly the area just below the Fox Hotel.
By 1901 George 2nd had died and George 3rd and Isabella had added to the family with George Edward (1891) and Joseph (1893).They lived in the High Street and George was employed as a ‘’Waycleaner - underground’.
In 1910 George 3rd died and by 1911 his widow Isabella was living in Lemon Alley, Pontefract, with all the children including Joseph and Walter who had been born in 1903. The family had still been in Brotherton until the birth of Walter.
Sarah was employed as a ‘General Servant’, George Edward was a ‘Coal Miner - by worker’ and Joseph a ‘Glass Hand’. There was also a granddaughter called Nellie Harrison aged 0. In a book called PONTEFRACT a short guide, compiled by John R. Whitehead, published by Pontefract Civic Trust to commemorate the Queen's Silver Jubilee 1977, a passage describes Lemon Alley:
“Next to Malt Shovel the left hand shop has been extended to cover the narrow arched entry to now demolished Lemon Alley. This particular row of late 18th century cottages was notable for being the narrowest and most unsavoury of its kind until it was demolished in 1934”.
The Malt Shovel is on Beastfair.
Joseph Harrison married Mary Sanderson in Pontefract in 1915 and they had a son called Leonard, born about April 1916.

Lonsdale Cemetery Authuille with rows of gravestones leading to a cross Lonsdale Cemetery Authuille

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