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Harry Lucas

Surname

Christian Names

Service Number

Rank

Regiment

Lucas

Harry

10064

Pte

1 Wilts

Born

Age

Enlisted at

Address

Chippenham

22

Devizes

Park Lane, No 74

Date of Death

Where killed

Cause of Death

14/07/1916

 

Wounds

Cemetery

Plot

Country

Millencourt Communal Cemetery Extension

C,9

France

Next of Kin

Next of kin address

Town

Eli J and Mary Lucas

74 Park Lane

Chippenham

Notes

Had been wounded at Gallipoli

Chippenham Man Killed in Action

Confirmation has been received of Private Harry Lucas, the fourth son of Mr and Mrs C Lucas of 74 Park Lane (1st Wiltshire Regiment) being killed in action. Pte Lucas joined the Wiltshire Regiment after the declaration of war and saw service in the Dardanelles, from which he was invalided home, but on his recovery he was drafted to the 1st Wiltshire Regiment in France.

Before the war he was employed as a postman in connection with the post office. He was of a bright and cheery disposition and respected by all with whom he came in contact. He was a prominent footballer and a member of the Rovers team and a regular attendant t the Men’s Own Brotherhood meetings at the Primitive Church.

Mrs Lucas has received a letter from the sergeant of the platoon to which Pte Lucas belonged.

Dear Madam

I feel it is my duty to write and answer the letter which you enclosed in the last parcel which you sent to your son, Harry. In accordance with our usual custom, the contents of the parcel were distributed amongst his comrades. Although I know that it is impossible for me to comfort you in your great sorrow, I am now trying my best to forward to you the great sympathies of his comrades and myself. When your dear son was killed it seemed to throw a cloud over the whole company to which he belonged. He was always well liked by officers, NCO’s and men, and often was the means of cheering many of us up, by his own cheery and pleasant nature.

As his platoon sergeant, I was extremely sorry to lose him, as he was one of my best boys, always willing and ready to undertake any duty with a cheery spirit. He was also an extremely plucky and brave boy and is greatly missed by all who knew him. His death was caused through the bursting of a shell and I am thankful to be able to tell you that he suffered no pain, as his death was instantaneous. We buried him in the small cemetery about 3 miles behind the lines and erected a small wooden cross over his grave.

With heartfelt sympathy, yours sincerely.

Sgt WG Thomas

Wilts Times 19 August 1916

In loving memory of Private Harry Lucas 1st Wiltshire Regt. Killed in action July 14th 1916 aged 22 years.

God takes our precious ones away
And keeps them in store for us,
That in the realm of endless day
We may have treasures sent before.

Had he asked us well we know
We would cry, O spare this blow;
Yes, with streaming tears would prey,
Lord, we love him, let him stay.

Never forgotten by his Father, Mother, Sisters and Brothers.
Mr and Mrs Lucas and Family, 74 Park Lane, Chippenham.

Wilts Times 14 July 1917

In the book "Somme" by Lyn Macdonald, Pte Roy Bealing MM relates his experiences of the attack by the 1st Wiltshire’s on the 5th or 6th of July 1916. "I was beside a young chap called Lucas and he was a bundle of nerves. He was shaking, yes. He was simply shivering and shaking like a leaf. He could hardly hold his rifle, never mind fix his bayonet. So I fixed mine and then I said "Here you are Lucas," and I fixed his for him. It would have taken him a week to fix his bayonet, the state he was in!. He wasn’t one of the new draft. He was one of the older ones, and I was right sorry for him."

The Wiltshire’s objective was a the second line of the German defences, the first line had already been captured. They were to the left of the village of la Boisselle. Between them and their objective was a huge mine crater which they did not know about.

Bealing says "When the whistle went, I threw my rifle on top of the trench and clambered out of it, grabbed my rifle and started going forward. There were shell holes everywhere. I hadn’t gone far when I fell in one." After getting up and carrying on, Bealing fell several more times. " I must have fallen a dozen times before I got to the first line and there were lads falling all over the place. You didn’t know if they were tripping up or whether they were going down with bullets in them, because it wasn’t just the shells exploding round about, it was the machine guns hammering out like hell from the German third line. Lucas went down. He was killed before he even got to the first trench, the one that was partly in our hands."

Bealing was wrong, Harry Lucas was not among the men killed in the attack but had been seriously wounded and died from his injuries on the 14 July 1916.

Memorials Commemorated on:

Chippenham Town War Memorial

Yes

St Paul’s Church

Yes

St Andrew’s Church

Liberal Club

Hardenhuish Church

Causeway Methodist Church Yes
Pewsham Street
Boys School
Congregation Church

Last updated - 03/11/2010

 

 


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