Harris, James Cowley

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James Cowley Harris

12398, Private, 2nd Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action, 30 April 1915, aged 41
No known grave (Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium)

CWGC registered (Brother of Mr RG Harris, of 27, Alexandra Rd, Llandudno, Caernarvonshire)

James Cowley Harris was born in Liverpool on 30 March 1874 to Samuel Barry and Nessie Harris (née Cowley). Samuel Harris was a baker and he had married Nessie, his second wife, in October 1872. In 1881, the family was still living in Liverpool but in 1891, its address was 6 St. George’s Place, Back Madoc Street, Llandudno. Samuel was described as a baker, Nessie as a lodging-house keeper, James (17) as a baker and his brother Robert (14) as a blacksmith. Samuel Harris died in 1892 and Nessie Harris died in 1898.

On 11 November 1893, James Harris joined the Cheshire Regiment at Chester for an engagement of seven years with the colours and five years with the reserve. On attesting, he claimed to be a member of the Militia, namely the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. His regimental number with the Cheshire Regiment was 4440. He served for periods with both the 1st and 2nd Battalions at home and in India. He extended his engagement and rose to the rank of corporal but was reduced to the ranks in 1907 for being absent without leave. The date of his termination of service in his record is unreadable though he was granted a small pension in 1912.

On 9 January 1915, James Harris reenlisted into the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion of the Regiment at Chester. His new regimental number was 12398. He gave his address as 3 Prospect Terrace, Great Orme, Llandudno and his trade as a baker. He named his brother Robert of the same address as next-of-kin. He gave his age as 39 years and 10 months though in fact he was one year older.

He was posted to the 2nd Battalion on 6 March 1915. The Battalion had previously returned from India on the outbreak of the war, landing at Le Havre on 17 January 1915.

James Harris was posted as missing in action and has no known grave. For administrative purposes, his date of death is given as 30 April 1915. This date corresponds with the Second Battle of Ypres when the battalion was in the trenches at Zonnebeke. During the engagement, the battalion suffered 16 killed, 83 wounded and 23 missing.

Known memorials:

  • Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium
  • Llanrhos Parish War Memorial, All Saints’ Church, Deganwy
  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno

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