No.35853, Private, Harry Samuel BOLINGBROKE
Aged 22

77th Company, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry)
Died of flu/pneumonia on Wednesday, 8th January 1919

Harry Samuel BOLLINGBROKE was born on 6th February 1896 according to him but registration is for Thingoe Q1-1897 4A:828A), son of James and Susannah BOLINGBROKE (née LAWRANCE).

1901 census...Aged 4, he was at 7 Quakers Lane, Bardwell with his father James BOLINGBROKE [36] farm labourer; his mother Susanna [33] born Cockfield; brother Willie [12]; sisters Rose [8] and Kate [2]. All were born in Bardwell except his mother.

1911 census...Aged 14, a farm labourer, he was at Quakers Lane, Bardwell with his parents; brothers Willie James (machinist)and Frederick John [6] born Bardwell; sister Kate and half brother David Spencer LAWRENCE [26] bricklayer's labourer, born Bradfield St George.

On the "Living Relatives" form he had both parents at Quakers Lane, Bardwell with brothers Willie [30] and Fred [14] half brother (illegitimate Spencer LAURENCE [34] and sister Rose [26] at Cemetery Road, Ixworth and sister Kate WATTS at Quakers Lane.

He enlisted in Felixstowe on 2nd February 1916, giving his date of birth as 6th February 1896.(seemingly one year early). He was a farm labourer from Bardwell, father James Bardwell of Quaker's Lane, Bardwell. He was 5 feet 3.75 inches (162 cm) tall, weighed 119 lbs (54.1 kg), chest 32" to 35" (81.3 to 88.9 cm). Admitted to 3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment No.24386, on 112th May 1916 he was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. On 13th July he was sentenced to 6 months detention for threatening a superior officer and sent to Wakefield. Under King's Regulations 622 he was released early, on 23rd August( this is strange as severe insubordination would usually not qualify him for release unless it was a short remission of the sentence - KR22 is for men placed on draft for overseas). Probably deemed in 'exingencies of the service", ie they were desperately short of machine gunners. On 27th he left Folkestone for Boulogne and proceeded to Depot at Camiers. His records contain conflicting dates, but basically he appears to have succumbed to a fever in December 1916 entered hospital in Wimereux and returned to England via HMHS "ST.Denuis on 29th December and was in hospital at Shooter Hill, Woolwich.. He remained in UK until sailing on HT 'Bermudian' from Southampton on 13th September 1917 for Salonika, arriving there 10th October.
As well as a very bad disciplinary record, late on duty, insolence to superior officers seem to be his problems, he also suffered many and various bouts of sickness. One particularly protracted medical problem from November 1917 to January 1918 was abrasions to his scrotum but this was recorded as not being his fault, but sustained when on "grazing guard duty" which suggests perhaps a kick from a horse. His superiors were not impressed by him, one records stating he was not reliable, not intelligent and had no special aptitudes that might benefit him in civilian life.
On 19th December 1918 he was admitted to No.40? or 46? C.C.S. at Ruschuk with flu. This worsened by 31st December then slightly improved until 5th when it worsened again and by the 8th he was delirious and died at 13:00. The death was put down to pneumonia contracted on and aggravated by active service.

The Bury Free Press on 1st February 1919 reported:-

We regret to announce the death of another Bardwell lad whilst on service overseas. The sad news has been received by Mr. and Mrs. James Bolingbroke of Quaker Lane, that their son, Prvt Harry Bolingbroke, Machine Gun Corps, died in hospital at Salonica on January 8th. Much sympathy is felt for the bereaved parents in their great loss
The deceased soldier was in his 22nd year and previous to enlistment was employed by Mr. McMaster on the Bowbeck House Farm.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Harry Bolingbroke is buried in Sofia War Cemetery, Bulgaria , grave 3:E:6
He was one the many who died at the end of 1918/early 1919 and were initially buried in Ruschuk Cemetery

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details