HARPER, Albert

No.1250523, Gunner, Albert HARPER
Aged 24

2nd Div., Ammunition Column, Canadian Field Artillery
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 31st October 1917

Albert Harper was born on 14th June 1893 in Thorpe Morieux, (Cosford Q3-1893 4A:736) son of John and Catherine HARPER (née BRINKLEY).

1901 census...Aged 7, He was at The Mount, Lavenham Road, Thorpe Morieux with his father John HARPER [38] farm bailiff; his mother Catherine [37]; brothers Percy [14] kitchen boy on farm, Arthur [13] stock boy on farm and Edward [2]; sister Daisy [12]. All were born in Thorpe Morieux.

On 3rd October 1905 he and brother Edward were admitted to Stanton School, living at Wyken and previously at Alpheton, they left 12th October 1906.

1911 census...Aged 17, farm labourer, he was at Street, Timworth with his parents and brothers Percy Robert, Arthur John ( both farm workers) and Edward William

He attested in Regina on 6th June 1916 a farmer born 1894 in Bury St Edmunds England, next of kin, father John (resident in Bury St Edmunds, England). He was 5 feet 5.5 inches (166.4 cm) tall, chest 34.5" to 38" (87.6 to 96.5 cm), weighing 145 lbs (65.8 kg), Brown eyes, dark hair, Church of England. He was living at Condie, Saskatchewan.

He was posted to 77 Battery, Earl Grey School, Regina, Saskatchewan. Embarking on SS "Saxonia" in Halifax " 4th October 1916 he arrived in Liverpool on 13th October 1916 and proceeded to Shornecliffe. On joining the Expeditionary Force in Belgium he was posted to 3rd battery and then on 13th December 1916 to the 2nd Division Ammunition Column and was killed in action on 31st October 1917 in the Ypres salient. His army records show his parents as living at Timworth, nr Bury St. Edmunds at the time.

His "circumstances of death" card is most comprehensive:-
"On the night of October 31st 1917, he was employed with a party packing ammuniti0n to the guns on the Passchendaele Front. The enemy was shelling the roads and the Battery position"s heavily, one shell bursting immediately underneath one of the pack mules, about 10 yards in front of him. Some men and mules were wounded, and other mules stampeded. The ammunition was finally delivered and the party halted on the road at a point not under fire at the time. Gunner Harper was then found to be missing. A party went back over the ground in search of him and located the body at daylight, and from the nature of the wounds it was indicated that he had been instantly killed by shell fragments".

The Bury Free press of 9th February 1918 reported :-

We deeply regret to have to announce the death of Gunner Albert Harper, 2nd Canadian Divisional Ammunition Column, son of Mr.and Mrs. Harper of Timworth. It appears the heroic young man was killed in action on October 31st, and he gave his life for his country at the early age of24. The bereaved parents, for whom much sympathy has been aroused, have received two comforting letters, one from their late son's Captain and another from his Sergeant. Both speak very highly of the soldierly qualities of Gunner Harper, and express the profound regret of both officers and men of the Battalion, at losing such a valued and gallant comrade. Gunner Harper met his death from an enemy shell whilst conveying ammunition at night.Mr.and Mrs.Harper have four other sons, who have served or are serving their country. The eldest one is a prisoner of war in Germany, and the youngest has been wounded twice,and is now in Heatherdene Hospital.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Albert Harper is buried in Vlamertinghe New Military Cemetery, grave 9:D:3

click here to go to the Comm"wealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details