Harris, Bernard

Bernard Harris was born in the December quarter of 1912 (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/15A/84), the son of Francis Edward & Jessie Harris, who had married in on the 5th August 1907 in Llangyfelach, Glamorganshire.   Jessie’s maiden name was Jessie Ponsford Cadogan (1882–1918), (Thanks to stephenleason50 – Ancestry).

The 1911 census tells us that Francis Edward, 29, & Jessie, 28, both born Llangafelach, Glamorganshire, had been married for 3 years and 2 children had been born, both still living, also they were living at New Road, Queenferry.    Their children were Leonard, 2 and Ethel, 1 both born in Hawarden.   Francis Edward Harris was working in the Furnacing in Welsh Mills (Gavanized Sheet Works), probably John Summers & Sons, Hawarden Bridge Steel Works.

Sadly Jessie Ponsford Harris was to die in 1918 (Flintshire (Mold)  HAW/11A/58) and Francis Edward Harris was to marry again, to Annie Munslow in a Civil Ceremony in 1920 at Hawarden. (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/06/91).    So Bernard was 6 years old when his mother died and 8 years old when his father remarried.    I have no clue to his life after that till the 1939 Register, although Bernard isn’t on that, I suspect he had been recalled.   Francis is Widowed, and I believe that Annie, his wife, may have died in that year – 1939.

1939 Register

Harris Household (4 People)

8 Glynne Street , Hawarden R.D., Flintshire, Wales

Francis E. Harris 08 Mar 1882 Male Furnaceman Steel Rolling Mills Heavy Work Widowed                214         1

Jonathan R Harris 25 Jan 1918     Male      Master Steel Sheet Mills Heaqvy Works                Single    214         2

Gaynor J Rickard (Harris)               19 Dec 1924        Female Unpaid Dom Duties         Single    214         3

Sorry, this record is officially closed. Check if you can open a closed record.

Then in 1940 Bernard married in St Ethelwold’s Church, Shotton:-

Page 68 No 136 5th October 1940 Bernard HARRIS, 27, Bachelor, Private in Army, 8, Glynn St., Queensferry Francis Edward HARRIS, Steel Worker & Doreen MUNSLOW, 20, Spinster, 9, Kin Royd (sic), Wepre Drive, Connah’s Quay, William MUNSLOW, Steelworker.   (After Banns)

Witnesses:- Jonathan Rees HARRIS & Annie WILLIAMS.

Did Bernard’s father Francis Edward marry a relative of Bernard’s wife Doreen MUNSLOW – Annie MUNSLOW in 1920?

The Royal Welsh Enlistment book tells us that Bernard enlisted on the 20th February 1931 as a Regular and this source gives his birthday as Christmas Day 1912.   On this Document it also tells us that he was discharged on the 16th June 1938 to the Territorial Army Reserve, but also is the note that he was Killed in Action on the 5th May 1944.   There are 4 Casualty Lists where Bernard is listed, amongst dozens of men’s names from the RWF’s who are reported ” Missing,”  (Date not reported)

Next one –“ Not Missing, “ then “Previously reported Wounded 23rd April 1944, now reported Wounded and Missing.”   Culminating in the last Casualty List stating the “Previously reported Missing 5th May 1944, now reported Killed in Action.“  

Looking at the Casualty List of the missing, (Date not Reported) many, many R.W.F. men were missing in that battle described below.

It seems that Bernard was wounded on the 23rd April 1944 , was missing and died on the 5th May 1944, so must have suffered greatly.

Below – Taken from The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website describing the graveyard and the history of what happened, with also perhaps one of the most iconic passages from WW2 – The Kohima Epitaph:-

The Japanese advance into India was halted at Kohima in April 1944 and Garrison Hill, a long wooded spur on a high ridge west of the village, was the scene of perhaps the most bitter fighting of the whole Burma campaign when a small Commonwealth force held out against repeated attacks by a Japanese Division. The fiercest hand to hand fighting took place in the garden of the Deputy Commissioner’s bungalow, around the tennis court, but the heaviest casualties on both sides occurred after relieving forces reached the Garrison and the Japanese were driven off the ridge, so re-opening the road to Imphal. KOHIMA WAR CEMETERY lies on the battle ground of Garrison Hill. No trace remains of the bungalow, which was destroyed in the fighting, but white concrete lines mark and preserve permanently the historic tennis court. The cemetery now contains 1,420 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War and 1 non-war burial. At the highest point in the cemetery stands the KOHIMA CREMATION MEMORIAL commemorating 917 Hindu and Sikh soldiers whose remains were cremated in accordance with their faith. At the lower end of the cemetery, near the entrance, is a memorial to the 2nd Division. It bears the inscription;- “When you go home Tell them of us and say, For your tomorrow, We gave our today.” The cemetery also contains a memorial to the 2nd Battalion, the Dorsetshire Regiment and a number of other regimental memorials have been erected on and near Garrison Hill. The cemetery was designed by Colin St. Claire Oakes.

Bernard was well loved and his name was put forward to be remembered of ever.




Learn more about the other soldiers on the Connahs Quay and Shotton War Memorial

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