Malvern College First World War Casualty

Captain John Anthony Harris MC

Photo of John Anthony Harris
House and time at Malvern: No 5, 1904 - 1908.

Regiment: Yorkshire Regt.
Died: 26 November 1917 aged 27 in France. Killed in action at Bourlon Wood.
Battle: Battle of Cambrai. Cemetery: Cambrai Memorial, Louverval P 5

Born Aug 24th 1890. Son of Mrs. J. Harris, of 3, Leven St., Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Yorks, and the late Col. J. Harris, V. D.
Upper IV B—Modern I. Chance Prize. XXII Football.
In business.
12th Bn. Yorkshire Regiment

'Jack Harris left School young, to go into business, but remained a faithful Malvernian, and enlivened many winter gatherings in the House with his inimitable whistling and general good spirits. He was the only son of a widowed mother and single-handed in his business, but he felt called to join up in 1915, and was commissioned March 16th, 1915, Captain, May 1916, in the Yorkshire Pioneers. After spending some time at Cannock Chase Camp, he went to France June 1916 and received the Military Cross for excellent work during the year, especially when in command of a company, always getting the best out of his men. He was reported "Missing" November 26th, 1917, when he was out with two R.E. officers looking over very important ground at Bourlon Wood. They were surprised and fired on by the enemy. The others reached a sunken road, but Captain Harris was never seen again. It is presumed that he was killed and buried by the Germans. One of the R.E. officers crept out to look for him and was instantly killed, and the search parties could find nothing. His men loved him, and say they would follow him anywhere. He was splendid in danger.' (Malvernian, Nov 1918).

Captain J.A. Harris was in Z Coy. On Nov 20th 1917 he went out reconnoitring for defensive work in front of Bourlon Wood with Major Johnson V.C. of the Royal Engineers and Major Clarke R.E. They were caught by a party of the enemy and fired on. Major Johnson was shot in the throat, Major Clarke escaped and reported the affair saying Major Johnson and Capt Harris were dead.

Service record: WO 339/25087