[Skip to content]

  • Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)
Person Details
Hull Yorkshire
James Henry (Harry) Harper was the son of James and Edith Jean (or Jane) Harper (née Griffiths). His father James was born in about 1868 in Malvern Worcestershire and his mother Edith was born in Worcester also in about 1868. They were married in about 1891 and had eight children, two of whom died in infancy or early childhood. Seven children have been traced on birth registrations and census records. The four eldest were born in Hull and the three youngest in Newark: James Henry b. 1892 (A/M/J), Henry John b. 1894, Albert Victor b. 1897, Ilene (sic) Violet b. 1899, Edith Olive b. 1904 (reg. J/F/M) d. 1904 (J/F/M), Robert Frank b. 1905 and Daisy May b. 1910 d. 1911 (reg. J/A/S). James, a shoeing smith, and Edith had moved from Hull to Newark by 1901 when they were living at 6 Gordon's Road with their four children James (8), Henry (6), Albert (4) and Ilene (1). Edith Olive was born three years later in 1904 but died the same year. They were still at the same address in 1911. James snr. was now employed in an engineering works, occupation 'case hardening steel'. Five of the six surviving children were in the home on the night of the census: James a grinder steel (engineering works), Henry and Albert who were both labourers at an engineering works, Ilene who was at school and Daisy (8 months) who died later that year. The fourth son, Robert, who would have been about six years old, has not yet been traced on the census. The family was living at 85 Sleaford Road, Newark, when James jnr. attested in September 1914. Edith completed a form for the army in 1919 listing her late son's surviving relatives all of whom were living in the family home: parents James and Edith Jean, brothers Henry (24), Albert (22) and Robert (14) and sister Ilene (20). James snr. probably died in 1931. When the England and Wales Register was compiled in 1939 his widow Edith was still living at 85 Sleaford Road with her two children Ilene and Robert who were both unmarried. Edith died in March 1948, the month after her daughter Ilene.
Attemded Lovers’ Lane Council School. Member of the Church Lads Brigade and St. Leonard’s choir. 1911 - steel grinder (Ransome & Co).
15 Jul 1916
789469 - CWGC Website
85 Sleaford Road, Newark. Enlisted Newark.
8th Bn Leicestershire Regiment
James Henry Harper enlisted at Newark on 3rd September 1914; he was 22 yrs 137 days old, occupation grinder. James lived at 85 Sleaford Road, Newark, and his next of kin were his parents and brother Henry of the same address. James was posted to the 8th battalion Leicestershire Regiment on 3 September and was at a camp outside Leicester before undergoing training at Aldershot and later on Salisbury Plain. He served in France from 29th July 1915 and was killed in action a year later on 15th July 1916. James has no known grave and his name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. He served for 1 year 317 days, 353 days in France. William qualfiied for the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Newark Herald, 5 August 1916 (photograph}: ‘Another Newark Hero Killed. Private James Harper' 'The name of this splendid young Newarker has to be inscribed on our local roll of Honour, for, at the early age of 24 years, he has given his life in the National cause – for King and Country. He is the eldest son of Mr and Mrs James Harper of 85 Sleaford-road, and though he is not really one of Newark’s born sons,he can be claimed as a resident, from the fact that he has lived in the town for considerably more than half his life. Young Harper was a native of Hull, and came with his parents to Newark some fifteen years ago, when he was only nine. He attend Lovers’ Lane Council School, and was a member as well as one of St Leonard’s choir. At the age of 14 he entered the employment of the late Mr Robt. Hodginson, at Northgate house, working in the house and in the stables. His inert abilities were recognised, and the family were advised to give him a wider opportunity of usefulness, so that, with this view, he went to the works of Messrs. Ransome and Co., and was there at the outbreak of the war. 'He joined the 3rd Leicesters in September, going with one of his shop companions. After being at a camp outside Leicester for a few weeks, he was removed with others to Aldershot for training, and afterwards to Salisbury Plain. He was home on a few occasions, the last time being in June, a year ago, shortly after which he sailed for France, and had, therefore, been out for over 12 months. He wrote regularly, always in a most cheerful strain, never uttering a single murmer, and recently he was buoyed up with the prospect of paying a visit to his parents. The last letter from him was received on June 21st, and in this he mentioned the sad death of Lieut. Barling [DOW 15 June 1916], and also that he had been to see the grave of Alfred Savage [KIA 22 September 1915] (another Newark lad) who was just behind the trenches, and had a nice cross upon it. He concluded by saying, ‘I am hoping to see you soon.’ After that there was a field card, which was delivered to his mother after the date on which he had been killed. 'The first his parents heard of this dire result was from a neighbour, who had been informed from another source. That was a week last Monday, and on the following Thursday a letter came into the town from Sergt.-Major R Mayfield, who stated, ‘I have just seen poor Jim Harper, dead on the battlefield.’ On Sunday morning last the official announcement was received from the War Office, confirming the already certain news. Mr Harper, the father, as well as two of the deceased’s brothers, are employed at Messrs Ransome and Co.’s works, and much sympathy is felt for the family in their sad and heavy bereavement.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Newark Herald, ‘Roll of Honour’, 5 August 1916: ‘Harper. Killed in action, Pte. James Harper, 3rd Leicester Regiment, eldest son of Mr and Mrs James Harper, 85, Sleaford-road, aged 24 years. He went to do his duty, He has done his best; From the battlefield He has gone to rest.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Report published 9th August 1916 in the Newark Advertiser:- 'Son of James & Edith Jean Harper, 85 Sleaford Road, Newark. A native of Hull, he came with his parents to Newark 15 years ago (when aged nine). Attended Lovers’ Lane Council School and a member of the Church Lads Brigade, also St. Leonard’s choir. At age 14, he began employment with the late Robert Hodginson at Northgate House, working in the house and stables. Then for Ransome & Co. where his father and two brothers also worked. Enlisted in the 3rd Leicesters in Sept. 1914 and home for the last time in June 1915. Confirmation received in a letter from Sgt. Maj. R. Mayfield, “I have seen poor Jim Harper, dead upon the battlefield”.' Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his father James was his sole legatee.
Remembered on


  • Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)
    James Harry Harper - Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France. (www.cwgc.org)
  • Photograph published in the Newark Herald, 5 August 1916. (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)
    James Harry Harper - Photograph published in the Newark Herald, 5 August 1916. (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)