52 residents in 52 weeks #7 Harry Dawson

My intention with this part of the blog was to look at people alphabetically, partly to stop me doing all the easy ones in the first part of the year. However the gov.uk website hasn’t yet produced the will of Bathsheba Davenport so Harry Dawson gets to jump the queue.

In brief:
Rifleman, R/9916, 8th Btn King's Royal Rifle Regiment d 24/08/1916 age 21. Commemorated Pier and Face 13A and 13B, Thiepval. ‘Killed in action’
Address 1911 22 Dobbin Lane, cotton weaver, single, two older sisters at home.
Born Cloughfold
He left 'all I have to my mother'.
CWGC records 'son of Thomas and Mary Jane Dawson of Springhill Lodge'.

Soldiers killed in great war has ‘killed in action’, France and Flanders which doesn’t narrow it down much. His medal card shows that he received the victory medal, the British Medal and the 1915 star. It also states theatre of war ‘France’, and qualifying date of 14/8/15. Looks like he got his pip, squeak and Wilfred then. Or rather his family did, as the medal card also records ‘K in A’ which is a little more subtle than that of my great uncle Gunner Tom Watkins whose medal card states rather bluntly ‘dead’.

The regiment’s war diaries for 14/8/15 suggest that the main concern was that telephone communications were bad all day. The battalion had seen fierce fighting with the loss of some ground and life on 30 July and the entry for 12 August records that they will soon receive reinforcements, which duly arrived on 15/8 . Presumably Harry was one of these.

I love the matter of fact nature of these diaries. The sound of the bombardments on 5 Sept 1915 was described as ‘somewhat unpleasant’. mmm. “Trenches very wet - knee deep in mud and water’. Lovely.

Approximately 180 men died from 8 Btn King’s Royal Rifles died in operations on 24 July 1816. RIP gentlemen.

It doesn’t help research that there were two Harry Dawsons b 1895 in the King’s Royal Rifle, the other chap being b Bingley and in 6th btn. (British Army service records 1914-1920 transcription WO 363, 62855) and was discharged in 1916.

This also shows the value in exploring a number of sources to determine who lived in Springhill. He wasn’t there at census time and his family aren’t named on any deeds I’ve seen, but his parents’ address is given on his CWGC record.