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Thomas Henry Harrison

Date of birth: 1890
Date of death: 1.8.1918
Area: Newton Hill
Regiment: Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
Family information: Son of John Henry and Louisa Harrison nee Blaydes
Rank: Private
Service number: 240988

War Service

On enlistment, Thomas Henry Harrison was posted to the York and Lancaster Regiment, with the service number 23328. However, he was later transferred to the 10th Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). The 10th Battalion was formed in Hamilton, in September 1914 and attached to 46th Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division. The 15th Division landed at Boulogne on 10th July 1915 and was later involved in the Battle of Loos.
In August 1916, the 15th (Scottish) Division was on the front line at Martinpuich and High Wood, during the Battle of the Somme. During the night of 14th/15th September 1916, the 10th Cameronians were involved in a successful attack against the village of Martinpuich. However, when relieved, they had incurred 310 casualties. The 10th Cameronians remained within the Somme battlefield, until 15th November 1916.
In 1917, the 15th (Scottish) Division was involved in the Arras offensive and later deployed at Pilckem and Langemarck, during the Third Battle of Ypres.
On the night of 15th/16th July 1918, after their earlier involvement in the battles at Bapaume and Arras, the 15th (Scottish) Division moved to Clermont and on to Liancourt, where they came under the command of the French Third Army.
In late July the 15th (Scottish) Division was facing the village of Buzancy, with the 91st French Regiment on their right. On 31st July 1918, after two previous attempts to capture the village of Buzancy had failed, orders were received for the 1/9th Royal Scots and 10th Cameronians to attack the following morning. At 23.30 hrs. on 31st July, the assault companies moved to their assembly positions in a cornfield, 300 yards south-east of Raperie. Zero hour was set for 09.00 hrs on 1st August. As soon as the barrage opened, the enemy machine guns opened a heavy crossfire along the front line and brought the attack to a standstill. The 1/9th Royal Scots advanced 100 yards, but suffered heavy casualties. The 10th Cameronian, with orders not to move forward until the first objective was taken, did not leave their assembly positions, but suffered slight casualties. Later, orders were received for the 1/9 Royal Scots and 10th Cameronians to recommence the attack at 15.30 hrs. In the meantime, the enemy had established machine gun posts on a small hillock to the right rear of the battalion, which could enfilade the attack. The Royal Scots again lost heavily when leaving the trenches to attack the hillock. However, the three companies of the 10th Cameronians reached the original front line, before having to fall back to their former positions. The Battalion consolidated these positions and was relieved at 03.15 hrs. the following morning, having incurred 58 casualties.
Private Thomas Henry Harrison of the 10th Battalion, Cameronians, was killed in action on 1st August 1918. He is buried in the British plot of the French National Cemetery at Vauxbuin, a village south-west of Soissons. The British plot in this cemetery was made after the Armistice, when graves were brought in from smaller nearby cemeteries. The graves of 50 soldiers of the 15th (Scottish) Division who fell in July and August 1918, were brought in from the nearby Dommiers British Cemetery. There are nearly 300 British casualties of the First World War commemorated on this site.

Family Life

Thomas Henry Harrison was born on 24th September 1890, the son of John Henry Harrison and his wife, Louisa, formerly Blaydes. At this time, his parents were living with his grandparents, Thomas and Hannah Blaydes, at Newton Villas, Newton Hill. On Christmas Day 1890, Thomas Henry was baptised at St Mary Magdalene Church, Outwood. John Henry Harrison, his father, was a miner, working at a local colliery. Later, Thomas Henry, with his parents, went to live at Lambert Buildings, Newton Hill. At the time of the 1911 census, Thomas Henry Harrison, aged 20 years, was working as a boot repairer, but still living at his parent’s home at Newton Hill.

Vauxbuin French National Cemetery with rows of gravestones Vauxbuin French National Cemetery

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