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Harrison, Bernard Peter J.

Found on CWGC using “Saltney” as a clue 8th November 2020.  The additional information son of Frederick George and Mary Louisa Harrison; husband of Margaret Harrison, of Saltney, Flintshire.   I do not think he is on any memorial and he must be remembered.

I believe that Bernard Peter Harrison was the youngest son of Frederick George H. and Louisa Mary Harrison (nee Trim).

He was born in the September quarter of 1917 (Tisbury Vol. 5a Page 265) – The district Tisbury is in the county of Wiltshire.

There were two other children, Mary A. Harrison born in the March quarter of 1911 (Tisbury Vol. 5a Page 167) and John F. Harrison born in the June quarter of 1915 ((Tisbury Vol. 5a Page 320)

Their parents, Frederick George H. and Louisa Mary Trim had married in a Tisbury Register Office or Registrar Attended Ceremony in 1909. (Ref. History Centre TIS_RO/6/108).

I have no information on Bernard’s early or teenage years, except for a sighting on the 1939 National Register (Taken on the 29th September 1939) age 22 years.

Bernard was living with his father and sister Mary at Causeway, Tisbury, Mere and Tisbury R.D., Wiltshire, and it is this source that gives us the dates of birth.   Frederick G. Harrison had been born on the 2nd October 1886 and he was a Farm Carter & Milk?, he was married.   Mary A. Harrison had been born on the 21st January 1911 and she was doing “Home Duties.”    Mary was single and also with the V.A.D.    Bernard P.J. Harrison had been born on the 6th June 1917, was single and a Printer’s Compositor.

Bernard’s mother and Frederick’s wife Mary Louisa Harrison is missing off this register, but I think I found her living and working as a Domestic Cook at Wardour Castle Tisbury, Wiltshire, in the household of Ivy Arundell Of Wardow, a lady of private means.    Mary Louisa Harrison had been born on the 29th March 1894 and was married, so I believe that this is Bernard’s mother, but if anyone has any information please contact the website.

So we know that Bernard Peter was home on the 29th September 1939 but don’t know exactly when he enlisted or was conscripted.   I found his Royal Artillery Enlistment Register, and this tells us that he did enlist in 1940, but “233 light A.A. Trg. Regt. 20th October 1941” was written under his name so I think he was sent for training as a gunner then.    Less than 1 year later, he was to lose his life.

I am no historian, but I did find some information from websites that may help tell his story.

I think that he may have been sent to Saighton Camp for training – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saighton_Camp

Built for                War Office – In use          1939-1999

Saighton Camp was a military installation located between Saighton and Huntington covering an area of approximately 33 hectares.

History – The camp was created between 1938 and 1939 for use as a military training camp during the Second World War. It was established as a basic training facility for light anti-aircraft batteries and subsequently became the primary training centre for the 233 Light Anti-Aircraft Training Regiment of the Royal Artillery. In 1949, it became Training Centre No. 12 of the Royal Pioneer Corps, and in the 1950s and early 1960s it became a training centre for the Royal Corps of Signals.[1] The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment were based at the site from 1973 to 1974,[2] the Green Howards were based there from 1974 to 1976,[3] the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment were based there from 1976 to 1978[4] and the Gordon Highlanders were based there from 1978 to 1980.[5] The King’s Regiment were billeted at the camp until its closure in 1985, when the regiment moved to the Dale Camp, Chester’s last remaining military barracks.[6]

Which would explain how he met and married Margaret Woodcock in Hawarden in the September quarter of 1942, a month or two before he was killed. (Flintshire (Mold)    HAW/16/50).   Margaret must have lived in Saltney after her marriage.  However, I believe that I found her on the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939, living with her family at 100, St. Anne Street, Chester.    Again this source gives the dates of birth and occupation for each resident.   Head of the household was her mother Frances A.E. Woodcock, born on the 2nd July 1883 and was widowed and doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties,” Thomas E.S. Woodcock had been born on the 20th October 1915 and was a “Houspainter’s Decorator” and single.   Audrey M. Woodcock had been born on the 23rd August 1920, she was single and a ”Presser in a Clothing Factory.”   Margaret H. Woodcock had been born on the 18th January 1922 and was an “Assembly  Electric Switchgear Worker.”   Margaret is single and she is seen on another page of the Register, (Ref Page 2 Bk2), but I don’t know why.   This second page also gives a clue to a possible 2nd marriage of Margaret H. Woodcock, but with her maiden name of Woodcock and after Bernard’s death, in the June quarter of 1949 to an Ernest E. Pitcher (Chester           Vol. 10a Page 438).   Any information to confirm or deny would be appreciated.

I do not have any more information on Margaret, but she must have been happy for a short while and then had the shock of his death.    If anyone has any information it would be gratefully received, as Bernard must not be forgotten for his sacrifice.

Also click on:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regiments_of_the_Royal_Artillery_1938%E2%80%9347

List of regiments of the Royal Artillery 1938–47

https://wartimememoriesproject.com/ww2/allied/battalion.php?pid=1554

Maritime Regiment – Royal Artillery

https://wartimememoriesproject.com/ww2/allied/battalion.php?pid=1561

6th/3rd Maritime Regiment.   Royal Artillery.

The Maritime Royal Artillery had its beginnings in the early part of the war when the Admiralty requested the Refiment to provide 500,2 man LMG teams for embarking on merchant coasters.   Taking with them either Lewis or Bren guns, they were to provid AA defence for the vessels.    With the increase in severity of attacks on shipping, the Maritime Anti-Aircraft Regiment RA was formed in 1941.

There were initially 3 LMG Regts each with 2 Btys and 1 Regt of 1 Bty of Bofors 40mm.   Port detachments were formed to find pools of trained LMG gunners who could be embarked as required.    The LMGs were supplemented with Hotchkiss guns and eventually mostly replaced by Oerlikons and Bofors.    There was no higher formation, each CO reporting direct to RA6 at the War Office.    In September 42 a gunner Brigadier was appointed as commander.    By the end of the year the Btys and Troops were operating independently and in Jan 43 the regiment was re-titles Maritime Royal Artillery.

http://www.thornburyroots.co.uk/war/maritime-regiment/

An Introduction to the Maritime Formations of the Royal Artillery – By Adrian Rose of Thornbury.

Thanks to Thornbury Roots in partnership with Thornbury & District Museum.

Excerpt from the above:- Maritime Royal Artillery

As the war progressed attacks by enemy aircraft diminished, and surface ships and submarines became the main threat.  Low-angle guns were introduced to counter this new menace, and to reflect the change in role the title was altered on 1 November 1942 to Maritime Royal Artillery.  In March 1943 the establishment was reorganised into six regiments, each consisting of a Regimental Headquarters, Training Battery and Holding Battery.  Each regiment was responsible for a designated area of shipping: Clyde (1st Regt, Loch Winnoch), Forth (2nd Regt, Leslie), Tyne (3rd Regt, North Shields), Mersey (4th Regt, Southport), Thames (5th Regt, Shoeburyness), and Severn (6th Regt, Thornbury).  There were also overseas Troops and Batteries in North Africa and Palestine, and later on in France, Belgium and Holland.  In August 1944 1,800 maritime gunners were returned to Army service.  Further reductions took place during 1945, and the final regiment was disbanded on 31 July 1946.  The MRA motto was Intrepid per oceanos Mundi = boldly over the oceans of the world.

Operations

Maritime gunners sailed on a wide variety of merchant vessels: trawlers, coasters, freighters, ore carriers, tankers, passenger ships and others.  They were often away at sea for months at a time, sometimes for over a year.  They sailed alone or in convoys of up to 70 ships to destinations such as the Mediterranean, America and Canada, Russia, South Africa, Australia, and the Middle and Far East.  The large passenger liners such as the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and Mauretania were used as troopships and often sailed alone, relying on their speed to outrun the enemy.  The Queen Mary could transport 15,000 troops at a time, and carried up to 200 DEMS gunners.  Although tasked with defending merchant ships, maritime gunners also took part in offensive operations, serving on merchant vessels which took part in landings such as North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, and the South of France.

Perhaps the best known and most costly action for the maritime artillery was Operation Pedestal, better remembered as the ss Ohio convoy to Malta.  On 2 August 1942 fourteen merchant vessels with a strong naval escort set sail from the Clyde for Malta with desperately needed fuel and supplies.  The convoy was under constant attack from 11th to the 15th August.  Only five ships, four of which were badly damaged, arrived at their destination.  Of the 162 maritime gunners who took part in the convoy, thirty were killed, six wounded and nineteen taken prisoner.  Fifty three maritime gunners stranded on Malta were ‘hijacked’ to bolster anti-aircraft units on the island, and soldiers rescued at sea found themselves stranded in distant ports.

His Casualty Card tells us that his place of birth and residence was Tisbury, he was killed in Action on the 13th October 1942 and it was “At Sea.”

His Casualty List (Page 28) Home & Stations Abroad (Cont.) tells us that Bernard along with 6 others were “Missing” on the 13th October 1942.

Casualty List 1074 (Page 7) – At Sea – Previously reported missing 13th October 1942 now reported “Killed in Action.”   This list also corrects his Unit previously shown as 6/3 Mar. Lt. A.A. Regt.  Should read as 6/3 Maritime Regiment.

So Bernard was obviously loved and missed by his wife Margaret and his family, he must be remembered for his sacrifice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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