Harry Bryce, Age 36/39
Private, 16454, 5th Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry.
Harry was the brother of Dawley Bank greengrocer, John Bryce. He had lived at Lawley Bank and worked at the Horsehay Works before moving to Bolton (11 Alice Street) with his wife (Mrs Hancock Bryce) who like himself had been a scholar at The Wesleyan Sunday School at Lawley Bank. Harry was a former pupil of Lawley School.
Harry was first posted as missing in late summer 1916, The 5th KSLI had moved forward into the trenches at Deville Wood on Aug 21st and then on the 24th had attacked the German lines, The 5th KSLI were in the centre of the attack with the 9th KRRC (King's Royal Rifle Corp) on the right and the 5th OBLI (Ox & Bucks Light Infantry) on their left, The KSLI suffered 194 KIA during the assault.
With Harry reported as missing a stream of letters arrived at the Dawley News asking for information, it must be assumed that Harry was well liked in the Dawley district, and almost two months after Harry's disappearance and no-one knew fully of his fate.
Oct 3rd 1916; among local men officially reported wounded is Pte Harry Bryce who has several brothers still living in Dawley. He belongs to the 5th KSLI and was put out of action 6 weeks ago and is in hospital somewhere in France - at the request of his friends we are trying to find out where, any information would be gladly received.
Oct 10th 1916; we are searching for Pte Harry Bryce who is now officially posted as missing. Pte Howard Brothwood (who was in the same charge at the front and was wounded) is now home on a few days leave but he knows nothing. Sgt Wesley Vaughan writes that Pte Bryce was seen after the battle on the way to the dressing station, but we are awaiting confirmation of this.
Oct 17th 1916; there is still no trace of Pte Bryce having passed through the field ambulance station - the hope of his life is therefore slender.
Oct 24th 1916; two articles appeared;
Pte W. H. Peake writes from France “I was especially interested in your article about Pte Harry Bryce - He was in the same class at Lawley school - I hope you will be able to give better news of him this week. No doubt there are many of my old school chums out here but I have not come across any of them yet”.
Further information has been received respecting Pte Harry Bryce, which we regret to say is not reassuring, Harry's 2nd Lieutenant G. P. Bulmer wrote “I am afraid all the news I can give is that Pte Bryce was wounded on August 24th and the stretcher bearer who dressed him said that he walked down from him quite alright but he can't remember the nature of the wound as he had dressed so many on that day. But I think that the fact of his walking - down to the casualty clearing station means that he could not have been wounded very seriously. I know him well as he was in my platoon and also my orderly for some time - he was one of the very best”
Oct 31st 1916; Sgt J. W. Vaughan writes from Reading on the 24th “I am going on well considering how badly I got "blowed" the worst wounds are in my thigh and groin. and you must excuse my bad hand writing as I have got a wound over my eye and I can't see very much. Thank you for the Dawley News - I am very sorry to see what you have been reporting about Harry Bryce, he was in my battalion and went over the top with me, he was a good soldier, I have got about 8 wounds altogether, so I am not selfish.
Nov 14th 1916; L/Cpl J Davies asks “Have you found out any more about Harry Bryce? I am very interested in his case for we were very close friends”.
Nov 21st 1916; Pte H Darrall writing from France says “Hyde, Edwards and myself are sorry to hear of Pte Harry Bryce” At the meeting last Tuesday Ms Lester reported that a Swiss agency (Red Cross ?) which undertakes to search the lists of British POW's in Germany is unable to find this man's name - alas! draw your own sorrowful conclusions from this.
Dec 12th 1916; Pte W. A. Brooks writes from France on Nov 30th “I am sorry I cannot give you any information about Pte H Bryce - he was in my battalion and I was with him the day before he was reported missing. It is grand to think that while we are out here fighting for right, you are fighting for us at home”.
Harry never got to the dressing station and his body never found, he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Panels 12A & 12D and his date of death is given as the 24th August 1916.
WWI Medal Rolls Index Card
|Victory Medal||British War Medal||1914-15 Star Medal|
Notes: Harry’s date of birth according to the army is circa 1877 but on the 1881 census it is 1880, so is age may be 36.