Private Harry Carpenter

Regiment: 2nd/4th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)
Service No: G/22309,  TF/203108

Date & place of birth: 2nd qtr. 1898 in Shoreham, nr. Sevenoaks, Kent
Date & place of death: 29 July 1918 (aged 20) in northern France

Harry Carpenter and his family had moved from Kent to Sussex before settling in Bepton during the war. He saw service in Gallipoli, Egypt and the western front.

Family background

Harry Carpenter was born in 1898 in Shoreham, Kent,  the fourth child and third son of William Carpenter (1860–1935) and his wife Hannah née Ash (1864–1933). William had been born in Claverley, near Bridgnorth in Shropshire. By 1891, he was living at Blankney in Lincolnshire where he was employed as under-gamekeeper for Blankney Hall, occupied by Ernest Chaplin, a merchant and banker.

In 1891, William married Hannah who was born in Staffordshire and their first three children were born at Blankney between 1892 and 1896. The family then moved to Kent where Harry was born at Shoreham, near Sevenoaks in the spring of 1898. At the time of the 1901 census, William was a gamekeeper at nearby Brasted, working for Frank Williams, a shipping contractor.

The couple had three more daughters; Emily born at Brasted in 1900, Nellie born at Eartham, near Chichester in 1904 and Jessie born at Warnford in Hampshire in 1907. At the time of the 1911 census, the couple and their five youngest children were living at Poling, south-east of Arundel, where William was still employed as a gamekeeper. The oldest son, Albert was serving with The Royal Engineers based at Bordon.

At the time he enlisted, Harry gave his address as Holmwood, near Dorking in Surrey. At the time of his death, his parents were living at New Farm, Cocking.

Military service

The records show that Harry enlisted into the 2nd/4th Battalion of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) at Guildford although his service records are missing.

The battalion was formed at Croydon in August 1914 as a territorial Force. After training, they sailed from Devonport in July 1915 and landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, after a three week journey. The battalion suffered heavy losses in the fighting in the Suvla Bay area and was reduced to about 15% of its full strength.

In December 1915, they moved to Egypt, where they saw action in the Battle of Romani in the Palestine campaign and in the battles of Gaza against the Turks in 1917, as well as the capture of Jerusalem. Their final action was at the Battle of Tell ‘Asur in March 1918.

In June 1918, the battalion moved to Belgium via Taranto in Italy to join the 34th Division; they were soon back in action at the Battle of Soissons in July.

Death & commemoration

Harry Carpenter was injured at some time shortly after the return to the western front. He died on 29 July 1918 and is buried in Rouen, over 100 miles from the front.

Subsequent family history

Carpenter grave
The grave of William and Hannah Carpenter in Bepton churchyard

Harry’s parents, William and Hannah continued to live in Bepton where they died in the mid-1930s. They are buried in Bepton churchyard, a few yards from the war memorial.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project