Today we remember Lance Corporal 34461 Harry Armitage, 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. Died of wounds in France on 23rd March 1918 sustained during the German Spring Offensive.

Harry was born in Heckmondwike on 7th June 1889. His father was John Henry Armitage, a blanket fuller, born in Heckmondwike in 1858 and died in 1936. His mother was Hannah (nee Illingworth) born in Golcar, Huddersfield in 1854 and died in 1932. They were married on 10th July 1887 at St. Peter’s Church, Birstall.

Their other children were; Abraham, born in 1887, Eveline, born in 1890, Agnes, born in 1893 and died in 1900 and Mary Ellen, born in 1896.

On the 1891 Census the family lived at Lobley Street, Heckmondwike, in 1901 and 1911 at John Street, Ravensthorpe and later at 5, Thornville Street, Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury.

 Harry was a single man who was educated at Boothroyd Lane and Ravensthorpe Church Schools; he worked as a Grocery Store Manager for Lion Stores in Thornhill Lees.

 He enlisted in July 1916 into the 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers with the Service Number 34461 rising to the rank of Lance Corporal. He died of wounds on 23rd March 1918 in the 43rd Casualty Clearing Station at Bac-du-Sud, France after being shot in the head by sniper during the German Spring Offensive (Der Kaiserschlacht). He is buried in Bac-du-Sud British Cemetery, Bailleulval, Pas-de-Calais, France. Harry was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Bac-du-Sud British Cemetery was made in March 1918 by the 7th, 20th and 43rd Casualty Clearing Stations, but when the German advance began at the end of that month, their place was taken by field ambulances of the units fighting on the Arras front, notably the 31st Division and the Canadian Corps. In August and September, when the Germans had been pushed back, the 45th and 46th Casualty Clearing Stations were posted to the neighbourhood. The Cemetery contains 688 Commonwealth burials of the First World War.

 Harry is commemorated on the Dewsbury Cenotaph in Crow Nest Park and in the Dewsbury Roll of Honour kept in Dewsbury Central Library and on the Ravensthorpe War Memorial in St. Saviour’s Church.


RIP Harry. Lest We Forget.


Headstone photograph by courtesy of Richard Houghton.

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