War Memorials in Sowerby, North Yorkshire

Harry Kendrew

4th October 1886 - 17th September 1916 (age 29)

Rifleman C/12477
21st Bn. King's Royal Rifle Corps

James Kendrew, a railway labourer, laid to rest his wife Jane on the fourth day of 1890 and he then faced the responsibility of the care of their seven surviving children. Some help may have come from the eldest child Arthur, who at the age of 15 was already employed as a moulder in the iron foundry at Norby. The youngest in the house at Victory Row was Henry (Harry) aged 4. Gradually the dependency on James would ease as each child reached working age until finally it was Harry's turn to leave school to become a plumber's apprentice. His duty complete, James passed away in 1907 and he shares a grave with his late wife in St. Oswald's churchyard. Their son. Harry is recorded as joining the Church Lads' Brigade when it was first started and it is assumed that he remained living in Sowerby. During the patriotic fervour of 1915, Earl Feversham, son of Lord Feversham of Duncombe Park created a "Farmers Pals Battalion" recruiting local men from across the north of England. His battalion later became the 21st King's Royal Rifle Corps (Yeoman's Rifles) and included Harry Kendrew, as well as number of other recruits from Thirsk and Sowerby. The 21st KRRC equipped, trained and ready for action crossed to France early in 1916. On 15th September 1916, the British secret weapon, the tank, was to make its debut at Flers-Courcellette. Also taking part were the 21st KRRC assembled in trenches in front of Delville Wood waiting for the artillery preparation before attacking towards Flers.

Rifleman Allen Lee wrote home to his father on 19th September saying:

Harry Kendrew was killed by a machine gun bullet just as the order came to go over the top.

Although all records show Harry's death to have been on 17th, it is almost certain that he died on 15th September because the battalion moved out of line to relative safety on the morning of the 16th and he would not have been in a position to have been hit as described.

Lieutenant-Colonel Duncombe (Earl Feversham) was also killed on 15th September, leading the battalion east of Flers. It is believed that he was killed by friendly fire having advanced too quickly into the British artillery barrage which should have been moving forward ahead of the infantry attack. On this one tragic day, the battalion lost four officers killed and ten wounded, 56 other ranks killed and 256 wounded plus 70 missing.

Harry's grave can be found at Guard's Cemetery, Lesbouefs, plot 11.C.6.

Harry Kendrew's grave at Lesboeufs

The information on this page was compiled by Steve Billings.

Information about Harry Kendrew on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Information about Harry Kendrew on the War Graves Photographic Project website

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