Corporal John W Hyde Harrison

Date of Birth 1 September 1898
Age at Death 18
Date of Death 13 November 1916
Service Number 120661
Military Service 4th Battalion, Special Brigade Royal Engineers
Merton Address 32 Park Road, Merton
Local Memorial Rutlish School, Merton

Additional Information

John’s parents, Arthur and Laura Harrison, were married at St. Augustine’s Church, Croydon in 1894. Arthur was a GP and it is likely that his job took him to Lancashire, where John was born in 1898.

John’s 38 year old mother died in 1908, when he was just 10 years old. It was after this that Arthur and his son moved back to London, settling near Colliers Wood. John attended the original Rutlish school, which stood in what is now Station Road, Merton Park.

John went straight from school into the army. His address when he enlisted was 32, Park Road, Merton. He responded to a War Office appeal for “men with training in Chemistry” and joined up on September 29th 1915. He was assigned to the Special Brigade of the Royal Engineers, a newly formed unit created in response to the German use of Poison Gas in 1915. It was responsible for handling gas discharge from cylinders and smoke from candles.

John died on 13th November 1916. We assume that he was injured during the course of his duties and died at a medical outpost. Certainly the cemetery where he was buried stood next to casualty clearing stations at the southern end of the Somme.

At the time of his death John's father was living at 91, Devonshire Road, Colliers Wood, Merton. According to the Mitcham War Memorial website his father had married for a second time to local resident Lilian Jane Hackett at the end of 1911 and at the time of his death John had two half-siblings.

John and is buried at the Warlincourt Halte British Cemetary, Salty. Grave ref ll.J.4. He is also remembered on the Rutlish School War Memorial


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