6 April 2012

203507 Pte L A Harris, Essex Regiment

I picked up the Victory Medal to this man about eighteen months ago; part of a job lot from the second-hand market in Chelmsford.  I wrote about Stephen Smeeton - another component of the job lot - yesterday.  This is Leslie Harris's story.

The medal index card gives this man's name as Leslie, and little else.  He was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals and so did not arrive overseas until 1916 at the earliest.  His number - 203507 - belongs to the series allocated to the 4th Battalion, Essex Regiment, and I know from my own research into army numbers that this number was not issued until after May 1917. 

There are surprisingly few candidates for Leslie A Harris recorded in the GRO's birth records. The most compelling candidate appears to be Leslie Arnold Harris who was born in Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire and who appears on the 1911 census as a 12-year-old living with his family at 64 Salisbury Avenue, Rochford, Essex.  This would have made him an 18-year-old conscript in 1917.

The owner of my Victory medal certainly survived the war and, I believe, died in 1961.  There is a death for a 61-year-old Leslie A Harris recorded in the Brentwood District in the June quarter of that year.

Cap badge courtesy of North-East Medals.

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