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  Harry Duffell M.M, D.C.M 

Private (L/Cpl) 18562
 2nd Bn.Royal Irish Regiment
"Killed in Action at Bapaume"
(1) 21/08/1918, aged 24 (4)

Formerly Private 2254 of 8th Bn The Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment(2)

Buried in Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery Extension, France (III.J.5)
Remembered on :
Ewhurst War Memorial (Royal West Surrey's)
Ewhurst
Book of Remembrance (Royal Irish Regiment)
(omitted from the Ewhurst Memorial Plaque)
Okewood Hill War Memorial Plaque

 

 

The son of Henry and Mary Ellen Duffell (nee Stemp), Harry  was born in Dorking in 1894 (4). In 1901, when Harry was 7,  the family were living at Cottage No2, Page's Farm, Coombe Lane, Coombe, Kingston, Surrey. At that time he had two elder sisters (one a step sister) and two younger sisters. His father was a cowman on the farm.

With the First World War Harry enlisted into the army in Cranleigh. At this time his place of residence was noted as Horsham (2). Initially, it would appear, he served in the 8th Bn Queen's (Royal West Surrey) Regiment as a Private (No 2254). The 8th Bn formed in Guildford in September 1914, as a K3 battalion (The third intake of Kitchener's volunteer battalions). It joined 72nd Brigade of the 24th Division at  based at Shoreham and moved overseas to France in August, 1915.  Harry arrived in France on 31st August, 1915 (5), presumably with the 8th Bn Queen's. At some stage after this it appears that Harry was transferred to 2nd Bn Royal Irish Regiment(5).

On 23rd April, 1918, the 2nd Bn RIR transferred from 49th Brigade of the 16th (Irish) Division to 188th Brigade, 63rd Division (part of IV Corps of the 3rd Army). The Battalion then took part in the Second Battle of the Somme, which lasted from 21st August,1918 until 3rd September, 1918. The first phase of this battle was referred to as the Battle of Albert, which lasted from 21st until 23rd August, 1918.

Harry was killed in action near Bapaume (1) on 21st August 1918, presumably whilst taking part in the actions associated with the first day of the Battle of Albert. He was laid to rest in Achiet-le-Grand Communal Cemetery Extension, France (III.J.5).

His award of a Distinguished Conduct Medal was gazetted in the London Gazette two months after his death , on 30th October 1918, and reads as follows (3):


Harry Duffell's Campaign Medal Card

Harry Duffell's name also appears on the war memorial for Okewood Hill, in the church of St John  the Baptist.

Okewood Hill War Memorial Plaque

At this stage it is unclear as to Harry's connection with Ewhurst. His omission from  the Memorial Plaque suggests that he had no family connections with the village. I hope that more information might be shed on this subject with the publication of the 1911 Census (AB)


Follow this Link to details about First World War Medals

Notes:
1. from Book of Remembrance
2. from Soldiers Died in the Great War
3. from London Gazette Issue 30983 (28th Oct 1918)
4. from 1901 Census. Note age given in Book of Remembrance (26 years old) would imply Harry was born in 1892
5. from Harry's Medal Card WO 372/6 139622 / 17081

 

 

Andrew Bailey, Ewhurst, Surrey
andy@ewhurstfallen.co.uk
Copyrightę2005