Unit: 7th Battalion
Date of Death: 11 July 1916 – Died of wounds
Age: 21 years
Cemetery / Memorial: Heilly Station Cemetery
Grave / Panel Ref.: II. A. 53.
The 1901 Census (RG 13/3048) lists Harry’s given name as “Henry”, although his Service Papers and Medal Index Card show that he served as ‘Harry’. According to his Service Papers Harry was born in Ruskington, Lincolnshire, on c. 1st January 1895, the son of John Robert (Labourer) and Lucy Ann (née Abrahams) Warne (‘Worne’ on the 1901 Census summary).
He had two older brothers, Robert and John, two older sisters, Elizabeth and Alice, and also a younger sister, Ethel. (In the June quarter 1911 Elizabeth married William Charles Cunnington, also of 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, who died in Gallipoli on 24 October 1915)
[N.B. Arthur’s older brother, Robert, who was christened Robert Abrahams, served as Lance Corporal 16050 Robert Warne Abrahams also in the 6th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment.
In 1901 (Census RG 13/3048) the family were living at Princes Yard, Ruskington, Lincolnshire [Two houses from the Wainer family whose 23 year old son, Arthur Wainer, was killed in action 2nd October 1917.].
In 1911 (Census RG 14/19618) the Census still spells the family name as “Worne” and they were still at the same address. Henry was employed as a “Bricklayer’s Labourer”.
[Younger sister, Ethel, was in Service to the Clark family at Rectory Farm, Ruskington. Unfortunately, she died, aged 17, in October 1914, about the time Harry enlisted. She is buried in Grave B. 17, Old Plot, Ruskington Cemetery, although the Grave has no headstone.]
Before enlisting Harry worked at ‘ Ruston’s Foundry, Lincoln. ‘ When he enlisted in September 1914 Henry stood 5 ft. 3 ins.(1.60 m.) and weighed 8 st. 10 lbs. (55.3 kgs.) He had a ‘dark’ complexion, dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. Certain pages of his Service papers seem to suggest the family name was in fact ‘WORNE’. However, all records for the family in the Parish Registers spell the name with an ‘A‘, as does his Service Papers.
When Harry’s belongings were returned to his mother after his death her address was recorded as Rectory Road, Ruskington. Both parents remained in the village for the remainder of their lives. Lucy died, aged 63, in April 1928, and John in November 1938, aged 75. They are buried in adjacent Graves 61 and 63, in the West Border of Old Plot, Ruskington Cemetery, although the Graves have no headstone. The Parish Registers, however, continue the family confusion over surname – both entries bearing the addition of ‘Abrahams‘ in their entries.]
Harry enlisted in the 8th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, at the Drill Hall, Lincoln on 2 September 1914, stating his age as 19 years 245 days. The following day he was posted to the Battalion Depot. Harry remained in training until 30 June 1915, when he was posted to the Dardanelles with the 6th Battalion and landed at Suvla Bay 7 August 1915.
The 6th (Service) Battalion was formed at Lincoln in August 1914 as part of K1 (Kitchener‘s First New Army) and came under command of 33rd Brigade in 11th (Northern) Division. After initial training close to home, they moved to Belton Park, Grantham. On the 4th of April 1915 the Division assembled at Witley and Frensham for final training.
The Battalion sailed from Liverpool on the Empress of Britain on 1 July 1915 for Gallipoli from Liverpool via Mudros (8 July), arriving in Alexandria, Egypt on the 12th. The following day the Battalion transhipped to Helles, landing at ‘V’ Beach and taking up a front line position at Eski.
The Battalion was relieved to Imbros and 1 August, but a week later landed near Lala Baba at Suvla Bay on the 7th August. At 2.00 p.m. that day the Battalion was ordered forward to attack Chocolate Hill, advancing in “… absolute parade ground formation. A magnificent spectacle, admired by all that watched. ” The “spectacle” was not without some cost, however.
CWGC Records show that 38 Officers and men were killed in action between landing and relief on the 8th.
With little respite the 6th Lincolnshire Battalion went into action again on 9 August. Early in the morning the men advanced south of Salt Lake for an attack on Ismail Oglu Tepe. At 5.15 a.m. continued to advance from Chocolate Hill towards Scimitar Hill which they had been informed was under the control of British troops. They immediately came under heavy enemy fire and had to deploy.
Scrub in front of them caught fire and the C.O., Lt. Col. M.P. Phelps, ordered a withdrawal at 12.15 p.m. The War Diary records that 8 Officers were killed, 4 others wounded or missing; 391 other ranks killed, wounded or missing. (“… none of the missing were ever seen again“. Many of the wounded burned to death in the blazing scrub fire.) CWGC Records show 175 Officers and men killed in the action. At the start of action Battalion strength stood at 17 Officers and 561 men.
During the Battle Capt. and Adjutant Percy Howard Hansen gathered together volunteers and made several journeys into the fire to bring out the wounded. For his bravery and leadership he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His citation read:
“For most conspicuous bravery on 9th August, 1915, at Yilghin Burnu, Gallipoli Peninsula. After the second capture of the “Green Knoll” his Battalion was forced to retire, leaving some wounded behind, owing to the intense heat from the scrub which had been set on fire.
When the retirement was effected Captain Hansen, with three or four volunteers, on his own initiative, dashed forward several times some 300 to 400 yards over open ground into the scrub under a terrific fire, and succeeded in rescuing from inevitable death by burning, no less than six wounded men.”
Percy Howard Hansen served with the Regiment until 1949, attaining the rank of Brigadier. He died in 1951, aged 60 years.
During the fighting on 9 August Harry received a gunshot wound to the left shoulder and was admitted to the No. 2 General Hospital, Gheziah, on the 23 August, before being invalided back to England, arriving home on 31 August 1915. ‘The Lincolnshire Chronicle’ [27 November 1915] reported that ” He is at present in a convalescent home in Leeds. “.
Harry recovered and his next posting, to France, was on 23 February 1916, joining the 7th Battalion in the field on 7 March. The 7th (Service) Battalion had formed at Lincoln in September 1914 as part of K2 and came under command of 51st Brigade in 17th (Northern) Division. On 14 July 1915 it had landed at Boulogne.
After joining the 7th Battalion on 7 March their Division was involved in The Battle of the Somme, 1st July – 18th November, in particular the action of The Battle of Albert, 1st – 13th July, and The Battle of Delville Wood, 15th July – 3rd September.
During the first of these actions, and after just 4½ months with his new Battalion, Harry was wounded again. On 10th July 1916 he suffered a gunshot wound to the head and died of his wounds the following day in No. 36 Casualty Clearing Station (C.C.S.), based at Heilly.
The War Diary shows that on 1 July the Battalion moved forward from Heilly to Bécourt Wood and from there relieved the 6th Dorsetshire Regiment in the front line at Fricourt. At 12.15 p.m. on the 2nd the Battalion attacked towards the village and its first objective was achieved by 12.50 p.m. However, it was held up at its second objective by machine-gun fire from Fricourt Wood.
The next day, 3 July, the Battalion was in action, firstly in support, then as part of the successful move to take Railway Alley. During that night the Battalion was relieved to Ville, having suffered, according to the Diary, 214 casualties. (CWGC Records shows that 4 Officers and 46 other ranks killed in action in this four day period, the remainder counted in the Diary were presumably wounded.)
On 7 July 1926 the 7th Battalion again moved forward to Quadrangle Trench before withdrawing to their old positions at Fricourt the same evening, only to advance to Quadrangle Trench again later on the 8th.
Battalion ‘bombers‘, i.e. “grenadiers“: those men tasked with the bombing of trenches and positions using grenades of various types, and ‘B’ Company were in action on 9 July at Pearl Alley.
The Battalion was relieved and moved to Méaulte on the 11th, but not before Harry had received gun shot wounds from which he died on 11 July. The War Diary reads: “Casualties since 1st July – 337.”
(CWGC Records show a total of 87 Officers and men of the Battalion who died in this period.)
In all Harry had served 1 year 314 days with the Colours. The 36th C.C.S. where he succumbed to his wounds had been at Heilly since April 1916. Harry was buried in the Cemetery nearby in a triple grave, also containing the bodies of Pt. 21815 C. Harvey, East Yorks. Regt. and Pt. G.S. Robbins, Welsh Regt.
On the 5 August 1916 ‘The Lincolnshire Chronicle’ reported Harry’s death as follows:
” KILLED IN ACTION – Mr. John Warne, Rectory Road, received information from the War Office on July 28th, that his son Pte. Harry Warne, Lincolnshire Regiment, had died in hospital, from wounds received in the big push which has been going on since July 1st. He joined the Lincolns in August, 1914 and later proceeded with his regiment to the Dardanelles, where he was wounded in the left shoulder on 9th August, and was invalided home. On recovery he was sent out to France.
From a letter received from Lance Corporal Thacker, Bloxholme, it appears he was the last local man to see Warne alive, as he passed him he was being conveyed to the hospital after receiving a wound which proved fatal. “
On 10 November 1916 Harry’s mother, Lucy, received his total effects amounting to £2 7s. 9d. [£2.39 – a relative value of about £145 today (2015)]. Later, 1 October 1919, she also received £8 10s. 0d. [£8.50 – about £515 today) as a War Gratuity.
After the end of the War Harry’s family were sent his medals – 1914/5 Star, War Medal and Victory – and the Memorial Plaque issued to the families of all soldiers who made the Supreme Sacrifice.
- “British Battalions on the Somme” – Ray Westlake [ISBN-10: 0850523745] p. 65
- ‘The Lincolnshire Chronicle’ – 27 November 1915 and 5 August 1916, page 2.
- I am grateful to Christopher Warne, great nephew of Harry, for the photo of his medals and Plaque