No. 13692, Private, Harry MARTIN
Aged 25

9th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 25th September 1915

Henry William Martin was born in West Row in 1890 (Mildenhall Q3-1890 4A:732) son of George and Louisa MARTIN (née PEACHEY).

1891 census...Aged 10 months he was at Cottage Gravel, Market Garden, West Row with his father George MARTIN [22] farm labourer, and his mother Louisa [24]. All recorded as born in Mildenhall.

1901 census... Aged 10 he was at The Street, Beck Row with his parents (father now a grocer's porter; brothers George [9], Fred [6], Thomas [4] and Walter [2] and a cousin of his father, William SPARKES [9]. All born in Mildenhall.

1911 census...Aged 20, a farm labourer, he was at Beck Row with his parents (father now a grocer); brothers George Edward (warehouseman), Fred (cycle repairer), Thomas (bricklayer's labourer) and Walter (scholar).

He enlisted in Mildenhall.
CWGC have his death as on 25th September, but his medal index card and the register of soldier effects show death presumed on or since 2nd October. One explanation is that the battle commenced for the 9th Suffolk on 25th and some 54 men were missing at the end of the battle.
Fresh out from England, like so many others at Loos, and encountering gas for the first time as well, it must have been a staggering ordeal. Forming up after a march to Vermelles, they advanced in the direction Hulluch to Vendin-le-Vieil. and passed our own lines, the German front line and the German support line before being held up and digging in with the German support line still behind them. At 5 am they were ordered back to the German support line. Another attack was ordered on the 26th, orders being confused and delayed, they advanced just before noon but were checked at the Lens-Hulluch road and from 5 pm for three hours they fought to maintain their position, which they did until relieved just after midnight on the 26th.
This baptism of fire cost the 9th Suffolks 135 casualties. 12 recorded by CWGC as killed on 25th and 11 on 26th.

The Bury Free Press of 23rd June 1917 reported:-
Mr. and Mrs George Martin, Beck Row, have received from the Record Office the identification plate of their son, the late Prvt Harry Martin, Suffolk Regiment. The parents were notified that he was killed on October 2nd, 1915. They have not received any of his effects or belongings form France,and the receipt of this plate by them has afforded them the assurance that he was killed doing his duty. How he met hos death or whether he was given a proper burial is not known.

photo: Roy Beardsworth

Harry Martin is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, Dud Corner, panels 37-38

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