Private 22576 William Harrison

11th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in action on the 22nd March 1918 aged 36.

He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France.

Son of John Thomas and Mary Harrison, brother to Richard, John Thomas, Florence and Grace. He was born in 1883 in Richards Row, Bottesford and in 1901 was lodging at Wood Cottage, Cranwell, Lincolnshire as a Horseman on Farm. In 1911 he is lodging at Cossington Grange, Cossington, still as a Horseman, with his family then living in Cossington village.

Named on the War Memorial, Parish Church Roll of Honour and Parish Church Triptych Roll of Honour

The War Diary entry for the 22nd March reads:

FREMICOURT. At 9.30am Transport moved back to about H.13.c. Sheet 57c. Two platoons of "C" Company withdrawn in the morning to the Army Line about J.8 and 9 Sheet 57c. and the remaining two in the afternoon. At 6.00pm all HQ details moved up and dug in and occupied a line just behind the Army Line about J14.b. At 4.00pm Transport moved to PIONEER CAMP, LOGEAST WOOD G.1.b Sheet 57c. 1 man of the transport was killed by shell fire. What remained of the Companies were withdrawn to the new line J.14.b. Total casualties of the operations: 2nd Lt. A ASHTON, 2nd Lt C. MILLWARD and Lt. W. BAXTER were killed in action. Captain R. BENTLEY, Lt. H. H. GRUNDTVIG M.C., Lt. R.J..NAYLOR, 2nd Lt. O.H.SEWELL, 2nd Lt. E. BEDSON, 2nd Lt. C.O.R. STEVISON were wounded. Captain J.C.SPENCER, Lt. A.L.HICKS, 2nd Lt. N.H.STEVENSON, 2nd Lt. A.SUMMERS are missing. 30 other ranks were killed, 106 wounded and 81 missing.

Tracing Pte. William Harrison and finding a link to Rothley proved very difficult until it was discovered that he had left an Informal Will under the Wills Act of 1837. This made it easy for a soldier in the front line to draw up his wishes in the event of his death. Not all such Wills survived the action of war as the Wills were kept by the troops in their pocket service books and tucked into their uniforms. However, William Harrison's did and they recently became available from the owners, Her Majesty's Court and Tribunal Service, and available for purchase. Here is the Informal Will left by Pte. William Harrison where he leaves all his belongings to Mrs Harrison, Soar Bank Farm Cottages, Rothley, Leicestershire.

Named on the Arras Memorial with other members of the Leicestershire Regiment

A misty morning over the Arras Memorial