Tattingstone remembers...William John Harrison
23 January 1895-25 April 1915
by Jane Kirk - Village Recorder
William John Harrison was the second of the soldiers to die who are commemorated on the Tattingstone war memorial in St Mary’s Church and he was also one of the youngest.
William was actually a Norfolk boy. He was born on 23 January 1895 in Strumpshaw, Norfolk to Albert William and Mina Harrison where his father was the sub-postmaster, grocer and pork butcher. In 1911 he had left home and aged 16 was a servant or page to an auctioneer in Norwich. However by the time war broke out he had moved south to Suffolk and was working as a footman at Tattingstone Place where no doubt he expected to steadily advance a respectable and reliable career in service. However events took a different turn and he enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment in Ipswich on 3 September 1914, still only 19 years old.
On 23 April 1915, while on sentry duty in France, he was wounded in the head by a sniper’s bullet and died in hospital at Bailleul. He is buried in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery, Nord, France (K10). William was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.
Sadly his father never recovered from the shock caused by the news of his son’s death and died within five months. William was one of a family of three sons and six daughters and the second son also a soldier saw active service in Gallipoli in December 1915 before being invalided home. He subsequently went to France where he received a serious wound in the big advance on Easter Monday, 9 April 1917.
Ironically another casualty of the same war was William’s master at Tattingstone Place, Roger Orme Kerrison, who died in 1917, just going to show that people from all walks of life and status were equally affected by this war.
Acknowledgements to Jean Austin and Jennifer Jones for War Graves information.